Commission’s Call for Additional Data from An Garda Síochána on COVID Policing Restated in Policing Authority Report

Responding to the publication today of the 3rd Policing Authority report on policing performance in relation to COVID-19, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission has reiterated its concerns about the need for An Garda Síochána to provide disaggregated data on policing activity.

The Commission wrote directly to Garda Commissioner Drew Harris on April 28th setting out that in considering the implementation of the Health (Preservation and Protection and other Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020 and associated Regulations, more detailed data is required on how Garda implementation is impacting people in different sectors of society.

For example while numbers are provided on the number of times powers were used, further anonymised data is not provided in relation to the gender, ethnicity or age of people engaged with.

It is significant that today’s Policing Authority Report also sees Chairperson Bob Collins set out the Policing Authority’s concern over the lack of such data. The provision of this data is in the public interest and important for the positive shaping of public policy around these unprecedented powers.

The Policing Authority also notes that Section 42 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Act imposes duties and responsibilities on the Garda Síochána in respect of the human rights and equality implications of its work.

Acting Chief Commissioner Dr. Frank Conaty stated:

The work being done by An Garda Síochána in providing community policing and engagement in exceptional times is to be commended.

“We welcome today’s statement from the Chairperson of the Policing Authority echoing the Commission’s own stated concerns about the provision of more detailed data on policing in these extraordinary times.

“Comprehensive information is essential to assess whether powers are being exercised proportionately by An Garda Síochána, and whether they are being implemented in line with human rights and equality principles.

“The principle of transparency in the exercise of these powers is critical in order to provide reassurance to the public that their use is necessary, appropriate and fair. This shared understanding is the essential underpinning of Ireland’s longstanding and proud culture of policing by consent.”

 

ENDS/

For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,

01 8589601 / (087) 0697095

bdawson@ihrec.ie

Follow us on twitter and Instagram @_IHREC

Editors Note

The full letter sent by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to Garda Commissioner Drew Harris is available on the following link:

https://www.ihrec.ie/app/uploads/2020/05/Letter-from-IHREC-to-Garda-Commissioner-Harris-28-April-2020.pdf

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.

 

 

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