FOUR extra gardaí per shift could be freed up in Cork if there was just one station open on a 24-hour basis.
That is according to the Garda Inspectorate’s latest publication, Policing With Local Communities.
During research for the report, the Inspectorate focused on a number of divisions across the country, including Cork city.
The report stated: “During visits, it was found that divisions have many stations providing 24/7 public counter services. This included Cork City with 14 stations, of which five operate 24/7 services. Many stations have few callers each day, with one station having only five visitors in a 24-hour period and requiring three gardaí to cover that post.”
It continued: “It is usual practice in other police services to have one station within a division opening on a 24/7 basis, with the rest not open to the public or operating limited opening hours. Operating one 24/7 public counter service in Cork City could free up four members for patrol on each shift and nationally it could release a significant number of gardaí each day.
“Operating multiple 24/7 public counters is not the best use of resources.”
The report also focused on community policing, highlighting that the migrant communities in Cork have “suffered as a result of a reduction in the number of local community policing gardaí”.
The report showed that there were 26 community gardaí and one sergeant in Cork city in March 2018 —– 4% of the number of gardaí in the division.
This is compared with the Dublin Metropolitan Region, which has 15% of its gardaí working in community policing. However, Cork city is higher than Donegal (1%), and Kerry, Galway and Wexford (3%).
The report said that a move away from community policing to boost other units, in the past decade, has been acknowledged by An Garda Siochana, and added that some divisions have lost over 50% of their community policing members.