Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Questions (457)

Niall Collins

Question:

457. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the college of the Garda Síochána in Templemore in County Tipperary is prepared for the commencement of new Garda recruits; if an academic and training programme has been finalised for the new recruits; if the physical infrastructure of the Garda college is still fit for purpose; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24734/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

A recruitment campaign for new recruits to An Garda Síochána is currently under way, the first since 2009. It is intended that the first intake of new Garda trainees who have successfully completed all stages of the recruitment process will enter the Garda College in July of this year. They will participate in the new training programme over the remainder of 2014 and it is expected that they will attest in early 2015. It is hoped to have further recruits entering training in Templemore in the remainder of 2014. The precise number of recruits to be included in each intake will be determined by a number of factors including retirements and will be decided shortly.

In February 2008 the Garda Commissioner established a group to review training and development for Garda and Civilian staff in the Garda Síochána. The Garda Síochána Training and Development Review Group Report was published in May 2009. The objective of the review group was to make recommendations to improve and reinvigorate Garda training in line with best practice in order to meet the new challenges of a changing society.

The review group carried out an extensive analysis of the training needs of the Force and consulted widely with staff across all ranks and grades. They engaged with different organisations including the following:

- Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC)

- Garda Inspectorate

- HETEC

- External training providers including

- University College Dublin

- Dublin Institute of Technology

- Institute of Public Administration.

As a result of this review the student/probationer training programme has been radically restructured into three phases. Phase I is for 32 weeks at the Garda College, at the end of which successful students will be attested (i.e. become members of the Garda Síochána with full police powers). Phase II is for 65 weeks based in Garda stations, and Phase III consists of seven weeks of exam preparation, exams and assessments (total 104 weeks). The new programme will now result in an award of a Bachelor of Arts (Level 7) in Police Studies, and the programme will be delivered using a problem based learning approach.

The main differences between the new and the current programme is that the new programme carries a greater emphasis on operational policing and focuses on real life scenarios which in turn prepare students better for the policing challenges they will face. The new programme will also instil a lifelong learning philosophy for members of the Garda Síochána, with a suite of mandatory and elective courses made available. In terms of the Garda College itself, the Office of Public Works is undertaking work to the accommodation with four blocks having been completed to date. Competitions for the filling of staff requirements at Garda, Sergeant and Inspector rank to act as Instructors at the Garda College are currently under way.