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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Garda members continued to cancel 999 calls despite controversy – Harris

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has stated that members of the force have continued to cancel 999 calls despite months of controversy surrounding the practice.

Expressing his shock over the matter, Harris stated that 53 cancellations had come to the attention of senior Garda officers in the period since the controversy broke out approximately 10 months ago.

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Describing it as “an extraordinarily risky and grave matter”, Policing Authority chairman Bob Collins stated that it was inappropriate and “utterly dismissive” to discharge a serious responsibility to the public in that way.

Harris stated that he wished he had insight into the motivations of those involved while saying, “In truth I don’t, I really don’t understand it,”.

He said he was shocked that Garda personnel had continued to “take a shortcut of their own volition” and cancel emergency calls, especially since last year’s controversy.

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A staff re-training programme and changes to call and dispatch technology were introduced in an attempt to prevent emergency calls from being cancelled.

Last year’s controversy revealed that thousands of emergency calls had been cancelled by gardaí since the start of 2019.

In certain situations, there was no policing response for those who called 999 and the crimes were not recorded.

In regards to the Garda personnel who continued to cancel calls, Harris stated, “None of this has any benefit to them, yet it has exposed all of them to the peril of inquiry,”.

Harris told Policing Authority chairman Bob Collins that almost all of the 53 cancelled calls were related to alarms being triggered.

Investigations are currently ongoing into the cancellation of 999 calls since 2019 and a number of units within An Garda Síochána are engaged in the investigation, which includes internal affairs, human resources, professional standards and the Anti-Corruption Bureau.

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