ABOUT PABI PROJECT
For many people, the police are a symbol of peace and security. Police are the first port of call for people who have experienced crime or threat to their wellbeing and security. Globally, however, there have been increasing concerns to ensure that policing of and for minority communities is fair and meets the appropriate standards. There are serious consequences in instances where policing is not fair: where ethnic minorities become overly subject to police powers, where police do not aid ethnic minorities when needed, and where there is disproportionate representation in criminal justice systems.
The UN and Council of Europe have highlighted issues of racial profiling and the disproportionate impact of police harassment across Europe. Combating racism and ensuring protection and support for victims of hate crime has been a priority of the European Commission, as seen in recent strategies to support victims’ rights, Roma people, and in the EU Anti-Racism Action Plan 2020–2025. Historically in Ireland, there have been attempts to address the issue of equal policing by the police through the delivery of diversity training and the establishment of a Diversity Unit in An Garda Síochána. Recently there have also been direct efforts to increase the diversity of recruits to the police service. The number of people with a migrant or ethnic minority background who apply to join the police service in Ireland is low, and not representative of the demographic the make-up of the wider population.
In 2019, An Garda Síochána published the Diversity and Integration Strategy 2019 –2021, which set out for the first time a strong commitment to engage proactively and respectfully with all members of society, and in particular, persons from minority groups and diverse backgrounds. An Garda Síochána has a positive duty under Section 42 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Act 2014 to eliminate discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and treatment, and protect the human rights of its members, staff and those persons to whom it provides services. In Ireland, research shows that people generally trust An Garda Síochána. However a Policing Authority report on policing during the pandemic found that migrants’ confidence in reporting a crime, or trust in the Garda Síochána to keep them safe, was low. Data from iReport.ie suggests a lower rate of confidence by ethnic minorities in Ireland in police than amongst the general population. There is also some evidence of disproportionate representation in the criminal justice system amongst minorities.
There has been relatively little research on the experiences of policing overall by ethnic minority and migrant communities in Ireland. Research on Travellers has highlighted overpolicing and underprotection of this population. There have been no in-depth studies of the everyday experiences of the African and Brazilian population in Ireland of policing.
REMEMBERING DR. VICKY CONWAY
The PABI project was originally conceived by Dr Vicky Conway who was tragically and suddenly taken from us in July of 2022. Vicky had a formidable intellect and possessed a great depth of knowledge on policing in Ireland, and in particular of policing through the lens of human rights, social justice and accountability. She was second to none.
As a colleague her values, grounded in a keen sense of human dignity, infused all her work. As a collaborator her kindness, generosity and supportiveness was unequalled. As a friend she was a joy. We miss Vicky as a friend and colleague, and hope that in continuing this collaborative project we can honour her memory.
The Policing of Africans and Brazilians in Ireland (PABI) Project is interested in researching the policing experiences of people of African descent and the Brazilian community in Ireland. These two populations have been chosen because they are sizable communities in Ireland, but little is documented about their experiences. It will use interviews, focus groups and a survey to establish a better understanding of how these communities understand and experience policing, and assess their experiences in light of legal obligations on An Garda Síochána. Important issues to explore include: experiences of reporting crime, attitudes towards police, and treatment by police, as well as areas of good practice and recommendations for change. The results of this research will be used to form recommendations that will inform the reform of the policing system in Ireland.
PARTICIPATE IN THE PABI SURVEY (ENGLISH)
If you would like to share your opinions and experiences of policing in Ireland, we invite you to take our survey.
Please click the link below for the English version.
PARTICIPE DA PESQUISA PABI (PORTUGUÊS)
Caso você deseje compartilhar suas opiniões e experiências de policiamento na Irlanda, Nós convidamos você a responder nossa pesquisa. Clique no link abaixo para a versão em português.
MORE RESOURCES & INITIATIVES ON POLICING IN IRELAND
Listen back to the PABI Research Team on Near FM, explaining why the research is important and how you can get involved.
The Policed in Ireland Podcast seeks to capture the experiences people have with the police, and put those voices front and centre. This series covers how communities and individuals experience policing, both good and bad, and offer expert opinion and context to these stories.