PUBLIC TO HAVE THEIR SAY ON THE FUTURE OF POLICING

Kathleen O’Toole was the first Chief Inspector of the Garda Inspectorate (2006 to 2012).

With the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland expected to report by September 2018, its chairperson Kathleen O’Toole is inviting the public to share their ideas.

The Commission’s remit is to look at the ways of reforming An Garda Síochána, and will publish its recommendations on a “rolling basis”, according to Kathleen O’Toole, former Chief Inspector of the Garda Inspectorate, who is now Seattle’s Chief of Police.

“I ask for your thoughts, your frustrations, your experiences, and your ideas,” noted O’Toole, who is leading the group of academics, legal experts, consultants, public servants and human rights advocates.

Oversight and accountability in the force will be examined, as will whether The Policing Authority and the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) should be given more powers, which will also form part of the scope of the inquiry.

She said that the Commission wouldn’t approach reform “through the prism of scandal and accusation”, but instead, look at it “in a strategic way that will allow us to examine the fundamentals of and challenges facing Irish policing”.

The Seattle Police chief also had a strong message for the general public: “To the community, this is YOUR commission. More importantly this is YOUR police service. A community’s trust, respect, engagement and support of its police are, without question, essential to modern, effective, and ethical policing.

She said that the challenges faced by Ireland’s police force are similar to problems in other corners of the world in terms of drugs and organised crime; changing societies and communities; limited resources; or addressing terrorist threats.