Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Questions (291)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

291. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 940 to 944, inclusive, of 23 July 2019, if a response has issued from the Garda Commissioner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50272/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I refer to Parliamentary Questions No. 940, 941, 942, 943 and 944 which were for answer on 23 July 2019. The Deputy will recall that the information could not be obtained in the time available and I undertook to consult with An Garda Síochána and contact you again. The information requested is now to hand and I would like to thank the Deputy for her patience while I consulted with An Garda Síochána.

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for An Garda Síochána including the training of the members and staff. As Minister, I have no direct role in the matter. The information which follows sets out the information conveyed to me by the Garda authorities in relation to these matters.

Recruitment to An Garda Síochána is governed by the Garda Síochána (Admissions and Appointments) Regulations 2013. The Public Appointments Service (PAS), on behalf of the Garda Commissioner, manages the initial recruitment stages for selection of Garda Trainees with the final stages of the recruitment process in which candidates are vetted, complete a physical competency test and a medical examination, managed by the Commissioner. I have no direct involvement in the matter.

The Deputy may wish to be aware that all Gardaí recruited since the reopening of the Garda Training College in September 2014 undertake the new 2 year training programme which leads to a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Policing which is accredited by the University of Limerick.

I am informed that as part of the professional Competence Module of the BA in Applied Policing, probationer Gardaí must pass a fitness assessment. I understand that this assessment, which has been in place since the inception of the BA in Applied Policing in 2014, was devised by the Department of Health, Sport and Exercise Science at Waterford Institute of Technology. I am assured by the Garda authorities that this is a fair and attainable assessment which ensures that probationer Gardaí have the physical capacity required to perform the full range of physical duties for which they are responsible, such as pursuing fleeing suspects and controlling persons who resist arrest.

I have been previously advised that fitness is an assessment with a Pass/ Fail grade within the Professional Competence Module and must be passed the same as any other assessment within the BA in Applied Policing. I am advised by the Commissioner that the Physical Competency Tests include age specific and gender considerations which are set out in the tables below. An Garda Síochána does not discriminate on the basis of age or gender.

I understand that the assessment requires probationer Gardaí to complete a shuttle test, otherwise known as the "fitness bleep test" which measures cardio fitness and involves continuous running between two lines 20 metres apart in time to recorded beeps which decrease every minute.

Age

Males

Females

18 – 25 years

Level 8.8

Level 7.6

26 – 35 years

Level 8.1

Level 6.6

36 – 45 years

Level 6.6

Level 5.4

The probationer Gardaí also complete tests to measure muscular endurance involving the performance of a number of press-ups and sit-ups subject to a time limit. The level of fitness required to pass each test is adjusted to take account of age and gender.

Sit-up Test:

-

-

Age

Males

Females

18-25 years

35

30

26-35 years

32

27

36-45 years

29

25

Press-up Test:

Age

Males

Females

18-25 years

25

20

26-35 years

22

18

36-45 years

20

16

I am informed by An Garda Síochána that pass and fail rates in relation to the physical competency test aspect of recruitment process are reviewed in advance of the criteria being considered. I am further advised by the Garda authorities that from June 2014 to December 2018 the Garda College Examinations Office has carried out a total of 4,406 competency tests. Of these, 3,240 tests were successful, while 1,166 tests were recorded as being unsuccessful at either one or both elements of the pre- entry test. The Garda authorities have advised that test figures for 2019 will not be available until the end of the year.