Gardaí may have to travel two hours to crime scenes under proposed changes

The new operating model will be the biggest ever restructuring of the force.
Gardaí may have to travel two hours to crime scenes under proposed changes

Gardaí could be delayed by up to two hours in arriving at serious crime scenes due to plans to amalgamate garda divisions.

The Irish Examiner reports that middle-ranking officers are also warning of the impact the new model will have on community policing.

The operating model is currently being introduced on a phased basis and will take place over a number of years in what will be the biggest ever restructuring of the force.

Members of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) were given a presentation on the model at their annual conference in Killarney. Under the proposals, Tipperary and Clare will become one garda division, Meath and Westmeath will be merged, as will Wicklow and Wexford. The existing divisions of Cavan/Monaghan and Louth will become one, as will the current divisions of Laois/Offaly and Kildare.

In Cork, the Cork West and Cork North divisions are being amalgamated, resulting in a division stretching from the tip of the Beara peninsula in the west, to Youghal on the east.

Liam Corcoran, honourary secretary of the AGSI and a sergeant based in Tipperary told the Irish Examiner the amalgamation of those two counties will mean that the new division will be 7,800sq km in size.

He warned that gardaí will also have to travel to crime scenes up to two hours away under the new model, while forensic collision investigators will also have lengthy journeys under the restructuring.

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