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Garda Inspectorate

Gardaí driving squad cars without specialist course - four years after report

A report of the Garda inspectorate says a practice warned about four years ago is still continuing.

SEVERAL GARDAI are being given permission to drive Garda vehicles without having completed the prerequisite training, a new independent report has found.

The Garda Síochána Inspectorate says officers are still being allowed to drive squad cars without specialised training on how to deal with the specialised responsibilities of Garda cars - four years after it first raised concerns about the issue.

A report in 2008 found that about a fifth of all Gardaí were being permitted to drive squad cars without the formal training – which is permitted only if an officer’s chief superintendent allows it.

An updated report issued yesterday, however, shows that despite recommendations to enforce mandatory training for all officers by the end of 2009, some Gardaí are still being cleared to drive squad cars without additional training beyond their usual driving instruction.

The report includes assertions from the Gardaí, however, that a driver training course is being included as part of formal Garda training for all new entrants to the force.

Gardaí also say that the new standardised Essential Driver Training course being undertaken by the general public encompasses the extra material that Gardaí who already hold full licences would be required to study in addition.

At present, however, being a qualified driver is not a prerequisite condition for admission to the Gardaí.

Other reports issued by the Inspectorate yesterday discussed how 180 Gardaí had been ‘released’ from desk duties as a result of the closure of 39 stations in the last two years, and had been reassigned elsewhere where they could be put on street duty.

17 of 18 recommendations in matters such as the search for missing persons and the policing of roads had been implemented.

Read: Garda patrol car set on fire in Kildare

Plus: A challenge for you: The Garda colouring book

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