The Garda Inspectorate has launched an inspection into Garda efforts to combat corruption within the organisation.

The examination is forming part of a wide-ranging work programme for the body over the next three years with other examinations including: policing Ireland’s borders; responding to domestic abuse and the handling of bail cases.

The Garda Counter Corruption Practices inspection is not directly connected to internal events ongoing in the force, including a high-profile Garda corruption probe, which has seen the arrest of four gardaí.

It is the first inspection which the inspectorate has itself initiated after its powers were extended. Previously, inspections were on foot of requests from the Minister for Justice and, more recently, the Policing Authority.

In a statement, the inspectorate said the probe will focus on “the effectiveness of the Garda Síochána at preventing, detecting and mitigating against internal corruption”.

It said the inspectorate would test Garda measures against international standards.

    These include:

  • Strategy and governance – identification and management or risk, internal and external oversight and the current anti-corruption structures;
  • Building organisational resilience – selecting, vetting, leadership and supervision;
  • Enhancing professional integrity – ethics and integrity training, disclosures, drug testing and professional standards;
  • Identifying and investigating corruption – protected and confidential disclosures, intelligence, investigation, regulation and information sharing;
  • Reducing the impact of corruption – effective responses to reports of corruption

The inspectorate said it will be using the commonly accepted definition of corruption, which is used by a number of government agencies, which states that corruption is “an abuse of a position of trust in order to gain an undue advantage”. The inspection is being headed up by Deputy Chief Inspector Hugh Hume and is due to be completed by the end of this year.

Chief Inspector Mark Toland said: “While there is no doubt that the overwhelming majority of Garda members and staff are honest, professional and committed to the values outlined in the Garda Code of Ethics, the inspection will provide an independent forward-looking report on the effectiveness of the Garda Síochána at preventing, detecting and mitigating against internal corruption.”

He said this will complement the work of the Garda Commissioner in putting in place the processes to prevent and tackle corruption within the organisation.

Last May, Commissioner Drew Harris announced that a new anti-corruption unit would be established by the end of the year.

    The inspectorate’s work plan over the next three years also includes:

An inspection into public order policing, which is now completed and being presented to the Policing Authority this month;

  • Custody arrangements in the Gardaí, due to start in Q3 2019;
  • Policing of Ireland’s borders, due to commence in Q4 2019;
  • Garda response to domestic abuse reports, due to start in Q1 2020;
  • Garda execution of arrest warrants and management of bail cases, both due to start in 2020

– Press Association

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