Garda Inspectorate wants officers to be banned from receiving gifts from informants

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The inspectorate recommended a number of new policies.

THE GARDA INSPECTORATE has recommended that a new policy be drawn up to explicitly ban officers from receiving gifts or hospitality from informants. 

The inspectorate’s report “Countering the Threat of Internal Corruption – A review of counter-corruption structures, strategies and processes in the Garda Síochána” was published today and recommended a host of new policies. 

The Journal published several stories in January detailing garda plans to tackle certain corruption issues such as abuse of power for sexual gain and gardaí using illegal drugs.

The inspectorate made recommendations relating to a host of aspects of garda policy, including how officers should interact with official informants.

The informants, known as Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS), are a vital cog in policing, especially for organised crime detectives as well as drug unit officers. 

However, details surrounding relationships between gardaí and their CHIS have never been explicitly laid down in policy. 

The inspectorate noted that the current CHIS Charter does “not explicitly prohibit sexual or emotional relationships with a CHIS or the acceptance of gifts or hospitality from them”.

The report also said that the Morris Tribunal in 2005 criticised gardaí for poor supervision of members’ relationships with sources and in some instances there was evidence to suggest they were inappropriate.

The inspectorate added that there are no guidelines in relation to contact between members of the management team and a CHIS once the relationship has ended.

Multiple sources have anecdotally told this publication about significant problems they had experienced with the system. 

The Inspectorate found there were robust policies in place for official interaction with CHIS.

However, it said “the absence of a framework for managing other professional relationships in the gardaí means there are no guidelines in relation to maintaining professional boundaries with a CHIS outside of the formal interaction process”.

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It recommended the following: “The Garda Síochána should revise its Covert Human Intelligence Sources Management Policy to prohibit the acceptance of gifts or hospitality from a Covert Human Intelligence Source.

“This should reinforce the obligations in other related garda policies dealing with professional boundaries, relationships and associations with an emphasis on the management of Covert Human Intelligence Sources.

“In particular, the revised policy should impose an obligation on garda members to disclose all relationships with a current or former Covert Human Intelligence Source.”

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