Quality and Standards in Human Services in Ireland: Policing and the Search for Continuous Improvement
Published: Sep 12 Report No: 127
The NESC report, Policing and the Search for Continuous Improvement, examines how quality and standards have been advanced within An Garda Síochána since the establishment of several oversight and consultative institutions in 2005. It finds there has been a great deal of focus on preventing obvious misbehaviour but there has been less attention given to the question of achieving a high quality service.
There is a lot of good work being done by the Gardaí with local communities and the report elaborates on one example of this in Dublin. But we do not know if there is a better way of policing because review and subsequent revision of practice are not being undertaken either by management or oversight bodies. Each level _ local, corporate and regulatory _ should influence and learn from the others by clarifying what constitutes quality policing and how it can be achieved. Without this kind of system of learning, it is difficult to know if progress is being made in terms of a higher-quality service.
Thanks to the policing reforms documented in this report, Ireland has all the 'parts' necessary for a well-functioning system of quality policing as suggested by the ideas of responsive regulation. But these parts have yet to be co-opted into a common regime of learning that is conducive to greater quality in policing. Constructing such a system would help to prevent abuses of authority as well as meeting the policing needs of communities.
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