Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice Martin Kenny TD said today that he is waiting with great interest to hear the responses of Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris, on Thursday, to questions from the Policing Authority regarding the cancellation by gardaí of 999 calls.
Teachta Kenny said:
“In most cases, when someone rings 999, they are in trouble and need help. The idea that gardaí were not following up on these calls flies in the face of all that policing and safeguarding of citizens is meant to be.
“It has been reported now that Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris, has instigated a review of cancelled Computer Aided Dispatch 999 Priority 1 Incidents all over the state, in relation to domestic abuse. These are said to run into the thousands, which is extremely concerning.
“If we take it that there are thousands of calls which were cancelled by gardaí regarding domestic incidents, there must be thousands more relating to common assault, burglary, trespass and other such offences.
“I am relieved at reports that the system has been changed so that individual gardaí cannot cancel calls now without the permission of a supervisor, but the fact that calls were being cancelled in such numbers is a poor reflection on the culture within the police service. I hope that disciplinary action will be taken against those who engaged in this.
“I am aware that some incidents, such as road traffic accidents, may generate more than one call from people who witness it and subsequently some of these can be ‘cancelled’ because action was taken on one call.
“However, when an incident generates just one call, it is often an indication that one person or family is in danger, such as when there are intruders in their home or domestic abuse is taking place.
“Commissioner Harris must come before the Oireachtas Justice Committee to report on this matter. It is a frightening scenario when people cannot rely on the police service to respond in an emergency, not to mention the skewing of crime statistics that would result in the cancellation of genuine calls for help.”