Specialist gardaí ‘urgently need’ training in investigating domestic violence cases
17 hrs ago
SPECIALIST GARDAÍ DEALING with domestic violence and sexual assault incidents have not received adequate training, a sergeant has said. © Shutterstock
Sgt Michael Bracken, who is a training officer in Cavan-Monaghan Garda Division, was speaking at the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors annual conference in Killarney.
Bracken said that while the numbers of gardaí in the Divisional Protective Service Units (DPSU) have been increased, their training has not kept pace.
The DPSU are specialist gardaí dealing with domestic violence incidents and sexual assault investigations.
“Their training hasn’t really rolled out yet despite what the Minister [for Justice Helen McEntee] says. As usual, we tend to bring an initiative in and then bring the training in somewhere [later] rather than the other way around.
“We’ve done this online training, which really isn’t a replacement for face-to-face training. I suppose Covid has slowed that down a bit.
“But I’m in training in Cavan-Monaghan and I have my classes back with my probationers and students since last August and I’ve been down on courses. I see no reason why Templemore can’t be brought up to speed and start face to face classes for those DPSUs.”
Bracken said that the arrival of the units in divisions has also seen an increase in the amount of Domestic violence calls to gardaí.
“They are getting a lot of work, there’s a lot of pressure on them. It’s something we have to get right because the victims, they are particularly vulnerable.
“And while we push ourselves out as experts; we are experts in the law but there are other things we need training in, maybe in psychological help. And I think training is important and we should push as an organisation that it’s financed.
“I think finance plays a big part in training. The Minister has made a commitment, saying she has increased the budget and I would like to see some of that budget going towards training those DPSUs in what is a very vital area in the job,” he added.
Bracken said the new specialist detectives are facing hugely complex cases and they need specialist training to deal with these enquiries.
“But there are more complex cases that they will need help with themselves. And who do they call? If they have the training they can certainly do it and that’s the emphasis we want. I think training needs to be front and centre.
“We’ve heard about it for a while and in our job we’ve had a number of reports about training but now we need to start kicking in. With next year being the 100th anniversary in the job, I’d like to see us coming back to where we always were; where training was front and centre.”
A statement has been requested from the Department of Justice.