Dublin Metropolitan Region

Garda Command & Control Entrance

The Dublin Metropolitan Region is made up primarily of the City and the County of Dublin, though it includes small portions of neighbouring County Kildare to the west and County Wicklow to the South. It occupies about 950 square kilometers and has a population of over 1 million people. To police the 1 million inhabitants of the DMA there are 46 different stations, spread over 6 different divisions

Region Stations Included
D.M.R. North Santry, Whitehall, Ballymun, Dublin Airport (H District)
Coolock, Swords, Malahide (R District)
Raheny, Clontarf, Howth (J District)
D.M.R. North Central Store Street, O`Connel Street (C District)
Mountjoy, Fitzgibbon Street (U District)
The Bridewell (D District)
D.M.R. South Central Pearse Street, Harcourt Terrace (B District)
Kevin Street, Kilmainham (A District)
Donnybrook, Irishtown (E District)
D.M.R. South Tallaght, Rathfarnham (M District)
Terenure, Rathmines (P District)
Crumlin, Sundrive ( G District)
D.M.R. West Cabra, Finglas, Blanchardstown (K District)
Ballyfermot, Clondalkin, Rathcoole (L District)
Lucan, Lexlip, Lucan (Q District)
D.M.R. East Blackrock, Dundrum, Stepaside (W District)
Bray, Enniskerry, Greystones (N District)
Dun Laoghaire, Cabinteely, Dalkey, Kill-O-Grange (F District)

The city of Dublin was originally policed by the Dublin Metropolitan Police, a force founded in 1836. It operated as an independent body even after the foundation of the State in 1922, before being incorporated into the Garda Síochána in 1925.

Dublin, like all capital cities, poses unique problems for the Garda Síochána. In addition to the problems presented by the large urban area, it is also the seat of Government, is the residence of the President of Ireland and has a large concentration of Embassies and Consular offices. The city also plays host to a number of international events, all of which attract considerable crowds.

Dublin is also home to Garda Headquarters as well as the various investigative units based at Harcourt Square in the Dublin South Central Division.

Command and Control

Command and Control is the nerve center of Garda operations in the Dublin Metropolitan Region. From this center at Harcourt Square all mobile patrols in the Region are controlled. This is also the center where all emergency 999/112 calls for Garda assistance in Dublin are received and processed.

The name 'Command & Control' is a reference to the Computer aided dispatching system used to process calls and dispatch resources. The system first became operational in 1989.

When a person rings '999' or '112' and asks for the Gardai, this is where the call is received. Many people think that they will be put through to a Garda Station, but this is not the case.

Each day Command & Control handles around 1,800 incidents ranging from serious road accidents, robberies, assaults and thefts to lesser serious matters such as complaints about noise and youths playing football on the street. The table below shows the number of incidents that were handled in 1999.

Traffic related 90,603
Crimes 124,377
Alarms 134,487
Helping the public 195,088
Hazards 11,914
Gardai needing assistance 9,375
Other incidents 93,226
Advised calls 25,350

Total for 1999: 659,070

How the System works

Within the Control room there are six call taking positions. The calltakers not only take emergency calls, but also calls from the Fire Brigade and ambulance service; queries from Garda stations and other police forces; as well as alarm calls received on dedicated lines from Alarm monitoring companies.

Calls are entered onto the computer system by the Calltaker as they are being received. They are then allocated a reference number and transmitted to the relevant Divisional Dispatcher. The Computer system knows which Garda Division the call is in from by referencing its 'geofile' - a database of all streets, roads, estates etc in the Region.

In another part of the Control room there are eight Dispatchers - the Gardai who view the incidents on their screen and send resources to deal with them. Six of these cover the six Divisions of the D.M.R. whilst one dispatches Traffic Resources and one handles armed units. Dispatchers can view on their monitors the active incidents in their Division listed in order of priority. Each dispatcher also has another dual-function monitor at their desk. It receives pictures from the video link to Garda Air Support Unit aircraft, and it can also link to the traffic cameras at a selection of junctions within Dublin City. This vital piece of equipment helps the dispatcher to assess situations, thus ensuring sufficient resources are given to a particular problem.

Three supervisors (Sergeant and Inspector Rank) are also employed on each shift. A Superintendent is in overall charge of the 91 staff at Command and Control.

Other functions

Apart from the main work of processing incidents, Command & Control also has a number of other functions:

The SOS phones, which you see along the motorways, are directly linked to the Control Room. If a person rings up to say they have broken down, staff will call a tow wagon or relative for them (the tow wagon is at the callers own expense).

The Garda Confidential Line is installed here also and messages left on same are checked throughout the day.

Supervisory staff perform the role of calling out special services when required, such as Marine/Mountain Rescue; Lifeboat Service; The State Pathologist; Garda Technical Bureau and the Garda Air Support Unit. Plans for major emergencies are co-ordinated from here. Emergencies would include plane or train crashes, major fires or explosions.