CONCERNS have been raised about the number of vacancies at garda sergeant and inspector level in the detective branch in Cork city.
The annual conference of the Association of Garda Superintendents heard that there is a vacancy for one detective inspector, as well as for a number of detective sergeants and detective gardaí.
Superintendent Michael Comyns delivered a presentation at the conference, on a pilot programme taking place in Cork city garda division, which has seen the face of policing being changed from the traditional district structure to a functional structure.
Now, all investigation of serious crime will be headed up by the detective branch in Anglesea Street, during the 12-month pilot programme.
Supt Comyns, who is a member of the executive of the Association of Garda Superintendents, said that people identified to fill the detective branch vacancies “cannot be released from their uniform roles, because there is nobody to replace them”.
As part of the pilot, there is also an administration hub in Anglesea Street, where all the administrative work previously done in district headquarters is now being done.
The pilot is also underway in Galway, Mayo, and Dublin South Central.
Last summer, gardaí of all ranks in Cork city were given information on the plans, through their association representatives.
Supt Comyns said the new system has only been in existence for 10 weeks and it is too early to judge how it is going, but he said there are positive aspects to it, apart from the resourcing issue.
In recommending a new management system, the 2015 Garda Inspectorate report outlined: “A functionality model is a different way of assigning responsibilities and, in the case of superintendents, it will reduce greatly the scope of their responsibilities to a particular portfolio with a smaller number of key focused functions, such as crime or partnership.
“Currently, garda district superintendents operate on a geographical basis and have responsibility for all aspects of policing in their defined areas.”