A Short and Friendly Guide toDealing With Policy Enforcers (aka: Gardaí Síochana)
Here’s a brief example to help you understand the difference between Peace Officers and PolicyEnforcement officers. We can look at three different posts held in society, namely; Prison Warden,Garda and Traffic Warden to see how their roles vary from Peace Keeper to Policy Enforcer:1.Prison Wardens – Peace Keeper only
There are approximately 14,415 members of An Garda Síochána, so it is likely that you willencounter them a few times in your life, living on the land. With almost 500,000 recorded roadtraffic offences per year odds are you will be pulled over at some time. So what to do??The Gardai are hired to be our protectors, however when they are enforcing statutes they becomepolicy enforcers. Their role changes from peace keeper to revenue collection agents.The Gardai are not your enemy, but they are also not your friend if they are acting as PolicyEnforcers. They are in an adversarial position much like playing chess. They want to win a situation,they want to get a conviction.Please note you are perfectly entitled to record the Gardai. When they are off duty they can enjoytheir right to privacy, but if they are operating in the public domain you have the right to recordthem. If you have any problems with this you might say “I’m gathering evidence for my defenceofficer”.
Know when and how to exercise your rights and don’t forget – You are actingLawfully!1. Positive vibes
The most important thing is to be as friendly, nice and courteous as possible it will pay off in theend. Act peacefully, respectfully and lawfully toward them. Let them know you are recording them,state the date and time, get the badge numbers, ask for their names and their business cards. If theyare in a huff about this tell them it is for Your safety. If they give any guff ask them” are you denyingme my safety?” or “Is there a problem with that Garda?” Of Course not! Surely?
2. First Contact
You could be driving in your car or walking down the street, first have a look around and see if there are any people nearby who you can ask to witness, most people like a good stare anyway and itwould help in your defence if necessary. Try and pull over near them or call them over (remember youonly have to pull over when it is safe to do so, this gives you some time).
Record, Record, Record
Nearly every phone has a voice or video recorder on it. If you are more prepared you’ll even have a dictaphone or a camcorder with you. Make sure the Garda is awareyou are recording……………………………