Major changes to Cork Garda structures from Monday

Major changes to Cork Garda structures from Monday
Anglesea street Garda station.Picture: Eddie O'Hare

CORK city is among four areas nationwide chosen to pilot a new garda structure from next Monday.

The 12-month pilot programme will see all serious crime investigation centralised in Anglesea Street station, while community engagement policing will be directed locally on the northside and southside by two superintendents.

From Monday, the existing districts of Gurranabraher, Mayfield, Togher and Anglesea Street will no longer apply. Instead, Superintendent Michael Maguire will head up community engagement policing for the entire northside, based in Mayfield station. Superintendent Charlie Barry will do likewise for the southside and remain in Togher.

Superintendent Mick Comyns will head up crime investigation for Cork city, taking charge of the division’s detectives. He moves from Mayfield to Anglesea Street.

Superintendent Colm O’Sullivan will also move to Anglesea Street, from Gurranabraher, and be in charge of governance. There will also be an administration hub in Anglesea Street station.

Garda Supt Mick Comyns.Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Garda Supt Mick Comyns.Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Superintendent Comyns said: “All the administration previously being done in district offices is being centralised to Anglesea Street and will be done by civilians.” 

The pilot is being headed up at a national level by Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn, who previously served as Chief Superintendent in Cork city.

The pilot is also being done in Galway, Mayo and Dublin South Central. Planning for it has been underway for almost two years.

Assistant Commissioner Finn said the four areas were carefully chosen, to ensure the new system could be tested in both urban and rural areas. He said: “We wanted to see the contrast of a very urban area which is Dublin, an urban area with a bit of rural which is Cork and Galway, and very rural, like Mayo.”

The aim of the project is to free up more gardaí, according to the Department of Justice. A spokesman 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 roll-out 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.

In recommending a new management system, the 2015 Garda Inspectorate report oulined: “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.

“This includes a wide variety of responsibilities, such as providing a 24/7 response to calls for service, investigation of all crimes, case prosecution, community engagement, personnel management and leadership.”

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