Bio

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Now providing Professional Services as a Security Police Analyst and MENTOR.


Former Head of the International Liaison and Protection Office of the Garda Síochána I was responsible for the protection of leading Political and Commercial figures, including the protection of the Irish President. Head of Garda National Traffic Policy Bureau, a major contribution to fatality reduction. Other responsibilities and competencies;

• Responsible for Protection of all Key Commercial and Political Targets,
• Responsible for security of visiting VIPs including POTUS
• Extensive Operational & Command Experience,
• Contacts in almost every Country in the World
• National Head Interpol and Europol
• Expert on Policing Systems and Practices

I retired from the police service in 2006 and I have been involved in many commercial contracts since then. These contracts include significant police and money laundering training components.


These commercial interactions are informed by a strategic police career, spanning three decades and facilitated by influential contacts formed then, and added to in the interim.


I am an advisor on Electronic Tracking Systems, GPS, GSM, and RF.

SPECIFIC COMPETENCIES

1. Anti Money Laundering
2. Asymmetrical Problem Solving
3. Crime Prevention
4. Criminal Investigations
5. Criminal Justice
6. Crisis Management
7. Customer Relations
8. Emergency Management
9. GPS/GSM/RF Tracking
10. Human Rights
11. Investigations
12. Law Enforcement
13. Mentoring
14. Networking
15. Patrol
16. Physical Security
17. Policy
18. Public Disorder
19. Public Order
20. Public Safety
21. Public Speaking
22. Risk Assessment
23. Road Safety
24. Security Audits
25. Security Management
26. Security Operations
27. Security Systems
28. Strategic Planning
29. Tiger Kidnapping
30. Corporate Security Adviser
31. MENTOR


This profile does not include security-sensitive or commercially confidential information.

Policing and Security is practiced in a challenging environment. 

 

Interaction is often adversarial and dangerous.  There is a fine line to be drawn between Law Enforcement and Community Service. The Irish policing model is based on “policing by consent” but the velvet glove contains a strong legal grip. Modern liberal thinking often considers the panacea is a softly focused policing service concentrating on community service. Scepticism is often expressed about the exercise of power. Experience has taught a valuable lesson that a balance must be achieved between the soft and the hard approach. The correct emphasis may well change from one environment to the other. It certainly is not a case of “one size fits all”. Whatever approach is adopted must be conducted firmly within a rule of law context.

 

Just occasionally a unique opportunity presents itself to do some real lasting good. I got this opportunity when Operation Lifesaver came along in 1997. The positive impact of this programme has withstood the test of time. I oversaw the Garda National Traffic Policy Bureau (GNTB), yes, a bit of a mouth full but a great initiative.

 

I led the key Garda Operation Lifesaver commencing in 1997. I conducted research with colleagues for about 12 months before the launch. Our operational model was largely based on the Victoria Model in Australia. This was undertaken on my initiative. This model was based on some key characteristics, High Enforcement by the Police, Graphic Road Safety advertising, incisive Academic Research, a robust Legal System and finally an automated offence detection system with computerised back office processes. Good road engineering was also a factor in this equation.  There was strong enforcement of speed and drink driving laws. Victoria had also shown that it had the capacity over time to reduce it road death toll remarkably. This Lifesaver strategy continues to this date and has had a major impact on reducing road deaths and injuries. I have maintained a strong academic and practical connection with Lifesaver since then. This approach was based on strong interagency cooperation and public support.

 

The key technical weapon was the Gatso speed detection van. It had the ability to undertake speed surveys and seat belt surveys and the ability to make automated speed detections in all-weather day and night. There was no way that individual Gardaí using single “shot’ detection devices could match the detection capacity of this equipment.

 

Part of my mission was to spread the garda message at every opportunity. This meant taking the hard questions with the soft ones. I was conscious that our deeds should match our words. Legitimate questions followed a predictable pattern. This was a revenue raising exercise, why could we not anticipate the crash locations and take pre-emptive action? How sure were we that government would resource our effort with personnel and technology? Did we not have more important things to do and why weren’t we chasing criminals? I was happy to take a positive line on most of these questions because we were about saving lives and we needed the publics cooperation. We could not compel drivers to comply if our system of detection was unfair or unclear.

 

The road deaths started in to decrease from a 1997 total of  472  to 141 in 2019. This represented a progressive downward trend over many years which commenced with the Lifesaver initiative.

 

We could not compel drivers to comply if our system of detection was unfair or unclear.

 

I made a written submission and oral presentation to the Public Accounts Committee on June 19th, 2014 on the dynamics of Road Safety Policy. Inter alia I referred to the evaluation of the road safety strategy from 2007 to 2012, which was commissioned by the Government, and I noted that the impact of the strategy equated to preventing circa 686 fatal collisions, 1,300 serious injury collisions and 650 minor collisions. This amounts to a monetary saving for the Exchequer and society of around €1.85 billion. The evaluation was conducted by the RPS Group using financial calculations set out by A&L Goodbody.

John O'Brien MSc