In line with section 17 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 (“the Act”), the Policing Authority of Ireland (“the Authority”) has established and released an initial draft Code of Ethics (“draft code”) for members of An Garda Síochána. The draft code is a product of the Authority’s research and consideration of submissions which were received earlier this year. Our subscribers will recall our previous Policing Authority update on this topic.
Section 17 of the Act provides that the code should include standards of conduct and practice for Garda members and provisions to encourage and facilitate the reporting of wrongdoing in An Garda Síochána. This draft Code can be accessed here.
Section 17 (4) of the Act provides in preparing this Code the Authority shall have regard to the standards, practices and procedures applicable to the conduct of police officers in other member states of the European Union, any recommendations of the Council of Europe and the Policing Principles.
The Policing Principles are set out in Section 5 of the Garda Síochána (Policing Authority and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 (the “2015 Act”) and state that the policing services are to be provided:
- independently and impartially;
- in a manner that respects human rights; and
- in a manner that supports the proper and effective administration of justice.
The Authority is seeking submissions on preliminary views and comments from members of the Public, employees of an Garda Síochána, civil society organisations and relevant statutory bodies to offer their views on the draft code.
Responses to this consultation should be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to The Policing Authority, Fourth Floor King Street North, Dublin 7, D07N7CV. The Authority has asked that submissions should be received no later than close of business on Friday, 23 September 2016.
Separately, the Authority has recently been given responsibility for the appointment of civilian Garda staff following the commencement of section 17 of the 2015 Act.
The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice has expressed a commitment to increasing civilianisation in An Garda Síochána to free up more Gardaí to focus on frontline policing.
The previous position was that the Garda Commissioner, subject to approval from the Minister for Justice and Equality and the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, appointed professional, administrative and specialist civilian staff within An Garda Síochána. It will now be necessary to obtain the approval of the Authority, rather than the Minister for Justice and Equality, for such appointments.
The Act also provides for the Authority to appoint Gardaí to the senior ranks of An Garda Síochána but the relevant provision (section 12 of the Act) has not yet been commenced.
The press release from the Department of Justice and Equality can be found here.