Commission on the future of Policing in Ireland: Terms of Reference


An Garda Síochána, the national police service with responsibility for community safety, state security and immigration, plays a hugely important role in Irish society and has traditionally enjoyed the widespread support of the community it polices. An Garda Síochána has, however, been the subject of significant public controversy over the past decade and continues to be so. Notwithstanding wide-ranging measures taken to address the causes of these controversies, including the establishment of a new oversight framework and the ongoing implementation of a reform programme within An Garda Síochána, concerns remain in relation to the accountability of An Garda Síochána, its leadership and management capacity and its culture and ethos. These concerns have the potential to undermine public confidence in policing and the legitimacy of An Garda Síochána. Additionally, like all police services it faces internal and external challenges rooted in the changing context in which all police services operate in the 21st century. These include increased expectations of transparency, accountability and professionalism, the changing nature of crime, the changing nature of society and the need for pro-active, routine and continuous engagement with local communities.



The people of Ireland are entitled to have a professional and effective police service that they can trust and have confidence in to act not only within the law, but to the ethical standards appropriate to a modern police service; whose leadership and management have the capacity to provide such a service, to meet emerging challenges and to oversee and realise the benefits of ongoing reform initiatives; and that is subject to robust external oversight. To ensure that policing in Ireland continues to meet these expectations and commands the support of the Irish people it is appropriate that a Commission should be appointed to carry out a fundamental review of the role, structures, leadership and management, ethos and culture of policing and existing oversight and consultative arrangements. Such a fundamental review must encompass all functions carried out by An Garda Síochána (including community safety, state security and immigration) and the full range of bodies that have a role in providing oversight and accountability for their activities, including the Police Authority, the Garda Inspectorate, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, Joint Policing Committees, the Department of Justice and Government having regard to the need for democratic and political accountability.



The oversight, accountability and related functions of the relevant statutory bodies will continue to be discharged by them during the tenure of the Commission and will represent an essential input into its work. There is an ongoing programme of reform underway based on the Garda Inspectorate reports which are being progressed through the implementation of the Garda Commissioner’s Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016-2021 and which is being overseen by the Policing Authority. The work of the Commission should not hinder these important developments and it will be open to the Commission, as it sees fit, to address such developments in their Report.



Taking this into account, the Commission will inquire into policing in Ireland and, on the basis of its findings, bring forward to the Government proposals for the future of policing.



Its proposals should address: 



























In carrying out its work, the Commission should have regard to:








The Commission should consult widely, including with the public and civic society and any other bodies or individuals it considers appropriate.



The Commission will report in September 2018 The Commission may bring forward immediate proposals and rolling recommendations for implementation, that it considers are required to be addressed in the short-term, and in advance of its final report.



The Commission should address in its report(s) the implementation of its recommendations and the mechanisms required to oversee implementation.




On September 18th 2018, the Commission published the 'Future of Policing in Ireland'. To accompany our report, the Commission published a supplementary document cross-referencing the aforementioned Terms of Reference with the relevant report recommendations. This document can be accessed here.