Rank and file gardaí fear that Cork city's armed response unit may not be able to get out of Anglesea Street garda station fast enough to respond to incidents because of overcrowding in the car park.
Concerns about the increased demand for parking spaces in the car park at the busy city centre station are being raised by the Garda Representative Association (GRA) just weeks after a pilot programme has gotten underway at the station.
The GRA holds its annual conference next week in Killarney, where a wide range of issues will be discussed.
The pilot programme sees the face of policing is being changed from the traditional district structure to a functional structure.
Now, all investigation of serious crime will be headed up in Anglesea Street, during the 12-month pilot programme.
There is also an administration hub in Anglesea Street as part of the pilot, which is also being run in three other stations across the country. The administration hub is where all the administrative work previously done in district headquarters is now being done.
However, Padraig Harrington of the Cork city branch of the Garda Representative Association said there were concerns about overcrowding in the car park, adding: “There is a fear that you could get an armed support unit out of the car park.” And he said: “Office space is becoming a problem as well.” Among the vehicles also parked in the station's car park are up to 20 vehicles attached to the road policing unit.
Garda Harrington said the pressures on car parking spaces had already started to increase in the last 12 months because of increasing civilianisation of positions in Anglesea Street, including in the control room.
He pointed out that gardaí who finish shifts later than 8.30pm cannot avail of the park and ride facility at Black Ash.
The issue is now being discussed with garda management in Cork to find a solution.
The pilot is also being done in Galway, Mayo and Dublin South Central.
The aim of the project is to free up more gardaí, according to the Department of Justice.
A spokesman for the department said: “The new model is expected to free up an estimated 10 Gardaí per Division from administrative duties for redeployment to the front-line – an estimated 250 in total when national rollout is complete.” Functional policing was recommended in a report from the Garda Inspectorate in 2015.
Last summer, gardaí of all ranks in Cork city were given information on the plans through their association representatives.