Several gardai under investigation over cancelled 999 calls
New procedures were put in place to stamp out the practice
A number of gardai are under investigation after they repeatedly cancelled 999 calls without following the proper procedures, the Garda Commissioner said yesterday.
The Policing Authority has been informed an additional 53 emergency calls were dropped without an adequate policing response after previous irregular cancellations had been in the public spotlight.
New procedures were put in place to stamp out the practice and Commissioner Drew Harris, who stressed the number of officers was relatively low, said he was shocked by the actions.
Authority chairman Bob Collins slammed the gardai’s behaviour and described it as “incredible” and “wholly inappropriate” and “utterly dismissive” of people who dialled 999.
Mr Harris said a garda employee had highlighted the incidents and he told RTE News “an inquiry and disciplinary investigation” is currently underway.
He revealed that most of the improperly scrapped calls were alarm calls, but individual dispatchers dropped them without being responsible and forwarding them on to their supervisor, which is now required. Commissioner Harris said he did not want to prejudge the actions of the gardai because they still do not have an explanation from them over why the calls were not answered.
He said it was “very disappointing” that the actions happened outside the process and added: “People could not have missed the importance of this.” The Commissioner said the incidents ran the risk of service delivery failure.
Meanwhile, Mr Collins slammed the actions as a “striking and bizarre development,” and “one wonders about people” who did it.
He said: “It’s very difficult to get one’s head around it. This could easily have had an impact on the quality of service to the public.
“It raises questions about performance management and the role of An Garda Siochana as employers.”