Gardaí visiting every home in pilot community policing scheme

A pilot policing scheme in North County Dublin is aiming to dramatically change the way Gardaí operate in the community.

The latest stage of the Small Areas Policing Programme will have gardaí visit every resident in their area and work to ingratiate themselves into the community.

It is hoped the scheme could be rolled out on a wider basis if successful.

AGSI President Tim Galvin said the scheme is about boosting Garda standing in their communities.

"It's the way, when I joined the guards in the early 80s, that was the way we did it - we got to know everybody. We were sent out on a beat, you'd have to know everybody in the area - and that was the way you learned what was going on."

"We've come away from that over the last 15-20 years, and we've lost that community-based policing."

He said that in rural areas, there may not be enough manpower to cover the areas involved, but he did not forsee that problem in cities and large towns.

Galvin also said there is a "disconnect" between senior management and officers on the ground.

Ahead of the publication of a report by the Independent Garda Inspectorate into work practices in the force in the coming weeks, he said there is little interaction between regular officers and their superiors, and not enough training for Gardaí.

"We made a submission as part of the review under Haddington Road ... which the inspectors have" he said. "We can see that there is an issue ... hopefully any review will look at that in a big way."

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