How to Set Up a Garda Community Text Alert Scheme

An Garda Síochána Text Alert service, or better known as Garda Text Alert by CommunityAlerts.ie

The most important aspect of almost every Community Text Alert scheme is establishing a direct link up with An Garda Síochána. When a suspicious incident is reported to the local Garda District HQ (as per official Garda Text Alert guidelines) the service provider needs to act quickly and be available to forward on the alerts 24 hours a day. CommunityAlerts.ie carries out this task effortlessly and automatically. Our application has received wide praise from both community groups as well as Gardai across the country. The most common question we get from Gardai is "How do you send them out so quickly?", and the answer is very simple. We have developed our own award-winning automated service to do all the works seamlessly and in a timely manner. 

To firstly go back a step, the Garda Text Alert guidelines were published during September 2013. They advise the Gardai who are charged with issuing alerts to send an email or SMS to a text alert service provider (such as CommunityAlerts.ie) so that there is a digital record for each Garda alert that is issued. There is no provision in the guidelines for a service provider to take phone calls from Gardai, and this suits CommunityAlerts.ie down to the ground because our system is fully automated. There is never a human behind our alert process and this ensures mistakes are not made and the service will run 24 hours a day. If you are not using CommunityAlerts.ie then you should check with your service provider that they are a 24:7 service. Many alerts issued by CommunityAlerts.ie are issued between 6am-8am when some SMS providers are not operating. Also, if your text alert group is using a community-held phone then you should consider the possibility that when the phone holder is asleep then they may also miss vital Garda alerts sent by Gardai.

 Set Up a New Garda Text Alert Group
 (30-day full trial, 100 free SMS text credits, no payment required)

In terms of the process, there are 4 key stages to the Gardaí issuing a Text Alert.

  1. A member of the public observes a suspicious incident and reports it to their local 24-Hour district HQ Garda Station by calling the station designated number. 
  2. When the Gardai receives an alert from a member of the public, they analyse the content and determine if an alert to the public is merited. In most cases it is, but sometimes the Gardai will decide against issuing an alert.
  3. When the Gardai issue an alert to CommunityAlerts.ie it is automatically processed. "Processing" an alert means that this service will analyse the content received by the Garda, determine the recipient Text Alert group(s), and finally send out the alert to the subscriber databases.
  4. Finally, the broadcast is received by group subscribers through standard SMS or through our free smartphone app for iPhone/Android which allows your group to get free unlimited text alerts. All this takes place within 0-3 minutes.

How Garda Text Alert works

In terms of setting up with a Garda Text Alert Scheme, this is often the most daunting part for any group manager. Don't worry, each Text Alert group using CommunityAlerts.ie is assigned a dedicated contact to get them set up. This includes importing their subscriber database, answering any question the group has, and especially setting up with the local; 24-Hour Garda District HQ. There is a special section for registered groups on this website to manage their Garda preferences (click on either image below to enlarge):

Basic Instructions, setting up your Garda Text Alert

Basic Instructions, setting up your Garda Text Alert

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How to filter Garda Alerts

How to filter Garda Alerts

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Managing your Garda Preferences on CommunityAlerts.ie

You'll notice from these screens that CommunityAlerts.ie allows your group to "filter" the Garda alerts. This means if you local Garda District HQ has a policy to issue alerts to each group in the district, then this can lead to groups getting alerts for incidents up to 40km away. The "Community Text Alert" quickly becomes a "Regional Text Alert", which isn't often practical. Therefore we allow you to set a filter where Garda alerts will only be issued to Text Alert committees and they can decide whether or not to forward them on to all subscribers from there. This saves a lot of SMS costs for many groups across Ireland and no other provider offers this feature. Another good example of where this is used is for national Garda awareness campaigns such as "Slow Down" and "Wear Your Seat Belt". They may be issued to text alert groups but CommunityAlerts.ie allows you to ignore them from a cost-saving point of view. This service also allows you to provide your local Garda representative's contact details. This allows us to contact them on all matters regarding your Text Alert. 

Officially Register your Text Alert using a Garda TA1 Form

To set up your Text Alert Group at your designated Garda Station (usually the district HQ) it is necessary to complete and send in a Garda TA1 Form. This is basically a written confirmation that your group exists and to provide a nominated point of contact (email or mobile number) to get the alerts from Gardai. We provide you with this information as we are your nominated point of contact to get alerts directly from Gardai and to forward them automatically to subscribers on your behalf. The good news is that we provide you with a unique email address for your group and we also send you a print-friendly TA1 form. All you need to do is press the Print button, sign the form and send it into your Garda Station. While many groups struggle with this registration, we do all the work on your behalf.

 Set Up a New Garda Text Alert Group
 (30-day full trial, 100 free SMS text credits, no payment required)

Let us set up and manage your Garda Text Alert Scheme

If you wish to talk to anyone at CommunityAlerts.ie about setting up your Garda Text Alert scheme then call us during weekday office hours on 01-2544363. If there is a "Live Chat!" message on the bottom of this page then we are online now - just click the image to chat! The important thing to note is that when you are set up with your Garda Station then it is a job done forever. It's a one-off task, and we do all the heavy lifting and administrative work on your behalf. We also recommend you set up a FREE account on CommunityAlerts.ie - you will quickly see how easy we make the Garda Text Alert system and how we take a lot of the workload from the Text Alert group manager.


Useful links:

And onto our final disclaimer: CommunityAlerts.ie is not affiliated with An Garda Siochana in any way. This service is fully independent and along with the Garda/Crime aspect the service, CommunityAlerts.ie also links up with Met Eireann and local authorities for a variety of other service alerts. Sure, Gardai play a big part in issuing alerts on behalf of groups across Ireland, and they account for the majority of alerts issued. However this system is designed to meet the full needs of the Community Alert group and their committee who own their Text Alert. Many of the features included with this service are focused on Text Alert administration and making the role of the Text Alert group manager much easier to manage. For a full look at our list of exciting features please visit our Features page.