Quarter of Garda stations can’t use key Pulse system
■ Separate report shows force has not finished reforms it says are done
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.”