A NEW management system being piloted by gardaí is expected to get underway shortly in Cork.
Planning for the pilot programme, which is also being done in Galway, Mayo and Dublin South Central, has been under way for almost two years. Sources say the pilot will be launched in Cork shortly.
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.”
At present, there are four Garda districts in the Cork city Garda division. Each of these is headed up by a superintendent.
In the new system, there will be three superintendents at district level, who will all have responsibility for community engagement and public safety. The current four districts are expected to become three under the new system.
Crime will be the responsibility of the divisional detective superintendent. Responsibility for inspections, complaints to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, and audits, are likely to fall under the remit of a superintendent in charge of governance for the whole division.
Superintendents would no longer be responsible for geographical districts, as is the case now. Proposals lodged with the Department of Justice, by Garda management, outline that superintendents will instead have responsibility for different areas of policing — such as crime, traffic and administration.
Functional policing was recommended in a report from the Garda Inspectorate in 2015.
Last summer, gardaí of all rank in Cork city were given information on the plans through their association representatives.
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. 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.”