The development of portable front-end mobile devices is one of several major ICT projects that are "endangered" after Commissioner Garda was told that US President Donald Trump's visit bill was 10 million euros.
Devices successfully piloted in Limerick and scheduled to be delivered all over the country later this year, allow immediate and safe checks on the road of vehicles.
Other ICT-related projects include a new electronic recording and monitoring system at each stage of criminal investigations, also highlighted as a key part of the reform program in the garden.
Taking into account the claimed priority in the organization to protect the costs of first-line police and the fight against organized crime, Garda's headquarters strive to bear large ICT spending to secure savings.
Sources, however, claim that overtime cuts are also sought by sub-divisions, especially in Dublin, which accounts for the bulk of overtime work. This includes Dublin West and Dublin North, dealing with multiple furious feuds.
According to sources from the Ministry of Justice, following the visit of Mr. Trump, the Justice Minister said the police bill should come from the current budget in 2019. Traditionally, additional budgets at the end of the year include large visits to foreign dignitaries.
It is understandable that the Ministry of Justice has given a clear explanation to Garda's headquarters that the Ministry of Public Expenditure and Reforms is firmly convinced that no additional provision will be made to cover the trip.
There have been consistent reports on the need to modernize the technologies in force, including the 2014 Crime Investigation Report in Garda and the Commission report on the future of the police published last September.
The Government's Implementation Plan in the Commission's Report sets out a number of ICT projects this year:
- Start the deployment of a quarter of 2,000 mobile devices to the front line police;
- Deploying the Investigation and Management System (currently pilot in Southeastern Europe) to other regions since the middle of the quarter this year;
- Deploy the Enterprise Content Management System (IMIS-aligned file management and data sharing system) from the second quarter of 2019;
- Development of the third-quarter debt management system.
Sources said that these projects are now "in danger" and may have to be postponed, with a consequent effect.
"If you do not cut the line on the front, it has to be the back office, and ICT is the biggest cost," says one source.
"There is no other option."
The slowdown in mobile devices will be a big blow given the level of public and political support for it: "We had a pilot in Limerick, it was successful," said the source.
The mobility project received a budget of € 1.5 million in the 2019 budget. Smartphones allow roadside tests and can allow the guards to conduct vehicle inspections immediately, make live recordings and scan plates with a series of secure police applications.
The investigative system is highlighted as a key part of the Garda reform and a response to the controversy of the investigations. It allows electronic recording and assignment of tasks and full supervision of all actions.
Garda's headquarters are concerned that US Vice President Mike Pens could come in September, which could add another 5 million euros, and the unknown extra security costs of customs protection services are published by firm Brexit on October 31st.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said:
"The management and effective use of Garda's resources is the responsibility of Commissioner Garda and his management team, given the operational need."