Quar­ter of Garda sta­tions can’t use key Pulse sys­tem

■ Sep­a­rate re­port shows force has not fin­ished re­forms it says are done

Irish Examiner - - Front Page - Daniel Mc­Connell, Elaine Lough­lin and Cor­mac O’Ke­effe

More than one in four Garda sta­tions — 156 in to­tal — are still not con­nected to the force’s IT net­work and have no di­rect ac­cess to the Pulse sys­tem, “shock­ing” fig­ures re­veal.

As a re­sult of the lack of con­nec­tiv­ity, Garda of­fi­cer in the non-net­worked lo­ca­tions have to make con­tact the Garda In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices Cen­tre (GISC) to pro­vide rel­e­vant de­tails to trained civil­ian call-tak­ers who them en­ter the de­tails on the Pulse sys­tem.

The lo­ca­tion of the sta­tions have not been dis­closed but it is be­lieved most of them are in ru­ral ar­eas. Such sta­tions have no ac­cess to Pulse, Garda email and the force’s Por­tal sys­tem, the force’s press of­fice has said.

The new fig­ures were re­leased to Labour’s jus­tice spokesman, Sean Sher­lock, who said the lack of com­puter ac­cess in so many sta­tions across the coun­try is a damn­ing in­dict­ment of the force’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties to com­bat crime.

“This is shock­ing,” he told the Ir­ish Ex­am­iner.

“But the idea that that many sta­tions are not con­nected to the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem is ridicu­lous in this day and age. This has to be an is­sue for the new com­mis­sioner and the Polic­ing Author­ity must have re­gard to.”

Jus­tice Min­is­ter Char­lie Flana­gan has said Garda author­i­ties have told them that there are some 156 sta­tions that are not con­nected to the Garda IT net­work. For op­er­a­tional and se­cu­rity rea­sons the lo­ca­tions of these sta­tions are not be­ing re­leased, he said.

“Mem­bers al­lo­cated to sta­tions which are cur­rently non-net­worked gen­er­ally have ac­cess to Pulse at their as­so­ci­ated district sta­tion as re­quired or can con­tact the GISC if re­quired,” the Garda Press Of­fice said in re­sponse to queries from the Ir­ish Ex­am­iner.

It has also emerged that there is only a com­mit­ment to “ex­am­ine” the lack of con­nec­tiv­ity of so many sta­tions in the Garda Síochána Moderni­sa­tion and Re­newal Pro­gramme 20162021.

“As part of the pro­gramme, the mat­ter of en­hanc­ing ru­ral ac­cess to the garda net­work by con­nect­ing non-net­worked sites to the net­work is be­ing ex­am­ined,” said Mr Flana­gan.

He said this pro­gramme is in­tended to pro­fes­sion­alise, mod­ernise and re­new An Garda Síochána to en­sure that the or­gan­i­sa­tion can meet present and fu­ture chal­lenges.

“This in­cludes plans to in­tro­duce mo­bile tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions to en­able op­er­a­tional gar­daí to ac­cess core in­for­ma­tion sys­tems, in­clud­ing Pulse, while on duty and away from garda sta­tions,” he added.

It is planned to in­tro­duce mo­bile tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions to fa­cil­i­tate op­er­a­tional gar­daí to ac­cess core in­for­ma­tion sys­tems while on duty and away from the Garda sta­tion. Tri­als with these so­lu­tions are at an early stage, gar­daí said.

Mean­while, the Polic­ing Author­ity has found that only a fifth of re­form ac­tions — rec­om­mended by the Garda In­spec­torate — which were marked as “com­plete” by Garda HQ were in fact com­pleted.

The author­ity said this find­ing “calls into ques­tion the re­li­a­bil­ity of the Garda Síochána’s re­port­ing”.

In its third re­port to the jus­tice min­is­ter on the Garda Síochána’s im­ple­men­ta­tion of the In­spec­torate’s Chang­ing Polic­ing in Ire­land 2015 re­port, the author­ity said one third of the rec­om­men­da­tions were not even on the Garda re­form time­line.

It said the lack of strat­egy for the Garda Re­serve and un­cer­tainty over how many re­servists were ac­tive was also of con­cern.

Mr Flana­gan said that ap­pli­ca­tions for Nóirín O’Sul­li­van’s re­place­ment as Garda Com­mis­sioner would be con­sid­ered from inside and out­side the force.

“I, as min­is­ter for jus­tice, am not rul­ing out the pos­si­bil­ity of ap­point­ing some­one from within. That’s what this process is all about.”

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