Following the Government’s decision to move the country to Level 3 of the National Framework for Living with COVID-19, An Garda Síochána has re-commenced Operation Fanacht as a nationwide policing operation focused on supporting public compliance with public health measures.
Under Level 3, people are being encouraged not to travel out of their county unless for essential reasons.
In support of this announcement there will be high visibility patrolling by Garda members across the country with the focus of this activity continuing to be encouraging people to adhere to national public health measures.
It will involve 132 large-scale checkpoints a day on main arterial routes around the country in addition to thousands of mobile checkpoints on secondary routes in towns and villages a week.
Speaking today, Commissioner Drew Harris said, “An Garda Síochána’s priority is keeping people safe. This will be a major policing operation across the country with high visibility of Garda members to support public health measures.
“An Garda Síochána is encouraging people not to travel out of their county unless it is for essential purposes. We want to advise people that will be conducting major checkpoints on main routes and travelling by road from tomorrow will be different from travelling today. People using the roads are likely to face delays.
“Since the start of the pandemic, An Garda Síochána has adopted a graduated policing approach based on its tradition of consent. We have seen compliance by the vast majority of the public with this approach. Independent surveys have also found significant public support for it. We will continue to police in this way.
“We have also had a strong focus on the protecting and supporting the vulnerable. That will continue as well. If you need our help, please contact your local Garda station.
“As an organisation rooted in the community, An Garda Síochána understands the difficulties these measures place on everybody. More than ever, we all need to work together and adhere to public health guidelines and regulations to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.”
An Garda Síochána remains committed to supporting the most vulnerable in our society, particularly our elderly and those at risk. We have always worked closely with our communities and we continue to do so in these extraordinary times.
Speaking today, Deputy Commissioner John Twomey, Policing and Security said, “An Garda Síochána will continue to play our part to assist and support people, particularly those who are vulnerable and feeling isolated. Your local Gardaí are here to help whether that is delivering medical prescriptions, collecting your pension or other supports you may need.
“Any person with these concerns for themselves or for a neighbour please contact your local Garda station.”
Operation Navigation, which focuses on compliance with public health regulations by licensed premises, will continue nationwide and An Garda Síochána will enforce penal regulations using our graduated response. Where Gardaí find potential breaches of the public health regulations a file is prepared for the DPP in each case.
At this time, there has been no change to the role of specialist units (Special Tactics & Operations Command (STOC), Special Crime Operations, Detective / Drugs Units and Divisional Protective Service Units DPSUs) nationwide. These units will continue to support the community and Garda colleagues with a range of specialist services, and An Garda Síochána will continue to investigate and detect crimes which have continued throughout the pandemic to date.
From the start of the response to the Covd-19 pandemic An Garda Síochána has and will continue to adopt, a graduated policing response based on its tradition of policing by consent. An Garda Síochána’s response has been fair and proportionate.
In respect of regulations, including travel restrictions, which are not declared to be Penal Regulations under the Health Act 1947 as amended, An Garda Síochána will utilise the following three Es from the 4E approach – engage, explain and encourage, only.
In respect of regulations which are declared to be Penal Regulations under the Health Act 1947 as amended, An Garda Síochána adopts the approach of the Four Es which sees Gardaí engage, educate, encourage, and as a last resort, enforce. Where Gardaí find potential breaches of the public health regulations a file is prepared for the DPP in each case.
While An Garda Síochána will seek to encourage people to maintain the necessary public health measures, it will intervene where there is non-compliance with public health regulations.