Wednesday, 22 May 2024

New 'Uber for gardaí' designed to end the postcode lottery for crime

A new Garda dispatch system – likened to the international taxi-sharing app Uber – will be rolled out around the country next year.

It’s hoped the new Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system will resolve boundary issues in rural areas, which currently can mean the nearest officers are not always dispatched.

CAD will allow a central control unit at larger divisional levels and replace the current control system that operates at district level.

The move is part of the modernisation and renewal programme within the force and is expected to be rolled out in the South East early in the New Year.

This new division will include Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny/Carlow and Tipperary districts.

Under the new system, people will call either their local garda station or 999, with the calls being relayed to the division, with the most appropriate and quickest response unit dispatched, a senior source said.

As far back as 2007, the Garda Síochána Inspectorate found the current dispatch system should incorporate GPS facilities, a geo-directory and demand profiling software should be developed.

Gardaí have said the new system will be a key component in the overall control-room strategy, enabling operators to see where exactly individual officers and mobile units are deployed in an area.

It has said these features will ensure the gardaí will efficiently handle requests for service from the public to reduce response times for emergency incidents.

Using mobile technology, the information given on a particular incident to a call-taker will also be available to the officers responding to the call so they are equipped to deal with whatever they have to confront.

The introduction of the system – which has been described as Uber for gardaí – comes as representatives of a leading farming organisation told the Oireachtas Committee on Justice there had been several recent incidents where confusion over boundaries had seen suspected criminals get away scot-free.

IFA deputy president, Richard Kennedy, said incidents had occurred within a short distance of a garda station, maybe as low as one kilometre.

But due to garda boundary rules, the investigation had been passed to a station 22km away in one case.

“As a result, the culprits and persons of interest were not apprehended.

“It is very frustrating,” Mr Kennedy said.

Gardaí have said that since the introduction of Operation Thor in November 2015, residential burglaries have reduced by 34pc.

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