Belfast Telegraph

New Garda divisional and regional headquarters announced

The regions will reduce from six to four and the Garda divisions from 28 to 19.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris (Brian Lawless/PA)
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris (Brian Lawless/PA)

By Aoife Moore, PA

An Garda Siochana has announced the new regional and divisional headquarters.

The locations are part of a restructuring programme under the new Garda Operating Model.

The regions will reduce from six to four and the Garda divisions from 28 to 19.

Commissioner Drew Harris, who has been tasked with overhauling the previously much maligned force, said the reduced number of divisions will give superintendents more autonomy and free up more frontline police officers.

The Policing Authority, which backed the move, labelled the change the biggest restructuring in the history of the Garda.

The force said a wide range of operational factors were considered when deciding where the new regional and divisional headquarters should be based.

Our new operating model will enhance the investigation of crime through a greater range of specialised services in local areas, such as the investigation of sexual crime, domestic violence, cyber crime and economic crime Commissioner Drew Harris

These factors included: population, geography, projected growth, crime trends and workload across a range of work streams.

The divisional headquarters will be based in Galway, Castlebar, Letterkenny, Drogheda, Mullingar, Portlaoise, Wexford, Waterford, Anglesea St (Cork), Macroom, Tralee, Henry St (Limerick) and Ennis.

Losing their divisional HQ status are Monaghan, Roscommon, and Sligo towns respectively, as well as Bray, Fermoy, Kilkenny, Naas, Navan and Thurles.

There have been concerns raised by the public and politicians that the reduction of divisions, and centralising the local force, could lead to longer response times and reduced police presence, due to larger distances from HQs to certain areas now within their remit.

For instance, Kildare, despite being the most densely populated county in its newly formed Garda division, will not host the divisional headquarters, which has been designated to Portlaoise.

The new North Western region will be headquartered in Murrough, Co Galway, the Eastern region headquarters will be located in Co Kilkenny, and the Southern region will be headed up from Anglesea, Cork city.

The Dublin Metropolitan Region will remain unchanged, with regional headquarters based in Harcourt Square in the city.

Divisions and headquarters throughout the Dublin region are: Ballymun, Crumlin, Store Street, Kevin Street, Dun Laoghaire, and Blanchardstown.

The new operating model has already commenced with the amalgamation of regions and will be introduced into divisions on a phased basis.

Divisions in the border region are unlikely to see any significant change until further clarity is available on Brexit.

Mr Harris has previously told the Justice Committee: “There’s enough happening in the border divisions at the moment without telling them on November 1, ‘Guess what? You’re also doing structural change’.

“We’ll hold off until we get some certainty on what the Brexit position is likely to be.”

After the announcement on Wednesday, Commissioner Harris said the change will see larger divisions with more resources.

“It will deliver increased Garda visibility in communities, as well as more localised services,” he said.

“Resources will be strongly focused on community policing, chief superintendents and superintendents will be empowered to make decisions on how policing is best delivered within their divisions while working to a corporate framework.

“Superintendents will be located throughout the divisions and will be supported by additional sergeants and inspectors.

“In addition, our new operating model will enhance the investigation of crime through a greater range of specialised services in local areas, such as the investigation of sexual crime, domestic violence, cyber crime and economic crime.

“Each division will be provided with a detective superintendent who along with trained investigators in specialist areas will be responsible for local crime investigation.

“Complex or highly technical crimes will generally be dealt with at national level.”

PA

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