Committee Reports::Report No. 07 - Recruitment and Training in the Garda Síochána::29 May, 1985::Report

Membership of the Committee

Dáil Deputies

Michael Woods - Chairman

Gay Mitchell - Vice Chairman

Bertie Ahern

Mary Harney

Vincent Brady

Willie O’Dea

Liam Cosgrave

Liam Skelly

Brian Cowen

Frank Prendergast

Joe Doyle

Mervyn Taylor

Mary Flaherty

Dan Wallace

Alice Glenn


Clerk to the Committee: F.J. Brady.

1. Introduction

1.1The Select Committee decided to consider the procedures for recruiting Gardai and the provisions for training Gardai at all levels in the Force. During the course of its examination the Committee visited the Garda Training Centre and the Garda Siochana College, in Templemore, Co. Tipperary. Delegations from the Committee visited the London Metropolitan Police and the Scottish Police College for discussions on the procedures in operation in those countries. Details of the latter two visits are contained in the appendices.

1.2The training of recruit Gardai is the function of the Garda Training Centre, which also deals with certain specialised training courses; the Garda Siochana College is responsible for education and higher training for ranks of Inspector, Superintendent and Chief Superintendent.

1.3Police recruitment and training have been the subject of much debate over the past number of years. The Committee is aware that various interested bodies have expressed a need for

(i)greater selectivity in the recruitment of Gardai, and

(ii)improved training for Gardai at all levels in the Force, including the initial training of recruits.

1.4In-Service training and on-the-job training are essential if Gardai are to keep up-to-date with developments and the changing role of the Gardai in society. In addition, there is a need for a greater emphasis on education, management and training for members of the Force who are promoted through the ranks. In any organisation, employees will devote an increasing amount of time to management functions as they move to more senior levels. The same must be true of the Garda Siochana.

1.5The Select Committee was impressed with the dedication of the staff attached to the Garda Training Centre and the Garda Siochana College. The personnel in both the Training Centre and the College are highly committed to the training and development needs of the Force.

1.6The formal training course for recruit Gardai consists of twenty-two weeks formal training in the Training Centre followed by a further four weeks after one year on-the-job experience. There is also provision for on-the-job training. However, in recent years, both the on-the-job training and the second period of formal training were rarely undertaken in practice. The structure of the course has remainded basically unchanged for many years. Various amendments are made in the course content to meet changing needs and circumstances, but these have not amounted to any fundamental reappraisal of the training needs of the Force. The time devoted to initial police training varies from place to place. In England it is twenty weeks. In Scotland it is only eight weeks; however, a different legal system operates in that country under which the police do not prosecute cases. The recruit training programme is dealt with in greater detail in Sections 4 and 5 below.

1.7Subsequent to the visit to Templemore by the Select Committee, the Garda Commissioner announced the setting-up of a Garda Training Committee, to examine the training needs of the Force. This Committee, which includes experts in the personnel area from business and the academic world, is being asked to

(i)review the training at all levels in the Force, and

(ii)make any recommendations considered necessary.

1.8The Select Committee recognises the need for a fundamental review of Garda training. However, the Committee considers that essential and urgent action, which it recommends must be taken to improve the training of Gardai at all levels, should not be deferred pending the outcome of the deliberations of the Training Committee. The Select Committee urges that a start be made on what are essential steps to improve:-

(i)the initial training of recruits,

(ii)the on-the-job training of recruit Gardai,

(iii)the in-service training of Gardai, and

(iv)the role of the Garda College.

In reaching this conclusion on the need for immediate action, the Select Committee noted that some significant recommendations in relation to the Gardai, made by the Garda Siochana Commission of Inquiry (Ryan Inquiry) 1979, have not yet been implemented. These include such matters as the supervision of recruit Gardai and the introduction of aptitude and psychological tests.

1.9The Select Committee is of the opinion that immediate practical steps must be taken to improve recruitment and training procedures. Facilities, professionalism and commitment are available in the Garda Training Centre and the Garda Siochana College; these should be harnessed and developed without further delay. If the Garda Training Committee come up with further recommendations, they could be incorporated within the new arrangements recommended by the Select Committee.

2. Summary of Recommendations


2.1The present selection procedures for recruiting Gardai are unsatisfactory and the Committee recommends a number of changes in these procedures. Despite the fact that two Committees - Conroy (1970) and Ryan (1979) - recommended that applicants for membership of the Force, who were otherwise qualified for admission, should be required to undergo psychological tests to ensure their suitability, it is only recently that this question has been subjected to detailed study. A Committee of Psychologists has been examining the implications of using psychological tests and is in the process of reporting to the Civil Service Commissioners on this subject.

2.2The Committee considers that some psychological input should form part of the recruitment process. There is a need for some selection process which identifies persons with personality traits which render them unlikely to make suitable Gardai. However, the precise form which this selection process may take varies from the introduction of psychological tests for all applicants to selective testing at a later stage in the process by, for example, involving a psychologist at the interview stage of the selection process. The Committee favours the latter alternative.

2.3In relation to the recruitment process the Committee recommends that:

(a) there should be a regular pattern of competitions with candidates having to have the Leaving Certificate or its equivalent and undergo aptitude tests. A number of candidates should be sent forward for competitive interview to be carried out by Garda Officers and a Psychologist.

(b)on appointment, persons should be appointed in a temporary capacity as Recruit Gardai. Final appointment to the Garda Siochana should be conditional on the satisfactory completion of a two-year probation/training period.


2.4When the Committee came to examine training in the Garda Siochana, the first problem was to consider what were the objectives of such training programmes. The Committee faced a fundamental obstacle in the absence of any agreed statement as to the role or job-description of a Garda. In considering the training needs of the Force, the Committee agreed that there were some general objectives which could be identified, namely,

(i)a knowledge and understanding of the criminal law,

(ii)an understanding of police/community relationships, a knowledge, and ability to use, interpersonal skills, to ensure clear and positive means of communication between the Gardai and citizens,

(iii)an understanding of the social context in which the Garda Siochana functions and its relationship with other organisations,

(iv)the creation of a mature outlook to be able to operate effectively as a member of the Force,

(v)an awareness of the organisation, structure and procedures of the Garda Siochana itsel.

2.5An essential element in the present role of the Garda Siochana is the exercise of what is known as “Garda discretion”. This can only be acquired with experience and maturity.

2.6There is a need for a radical overhaul of the present training arrangements especially for Recruit Gardai and for members at Garda level in the Force. The present initial training for Recruit Gardai, with its emphasis on a military type discipline and extensive time devoted to foot-drill, is sadly lagging behind in what is required of a modern police force. This must be urgently changed and the emphasis placed on community/police relations, dealings with the public, interpersonal skills and practical and relevant legal knowledge.

2.7The training function within the Garda Siochana is seriously underdeveloped and steps must be taken to urgently improve the position. There has been a lack of appreciation of the central role that training and research plays in a body such as the Garda Siochana. Resources must be made available immediately to provide a professional training and research function within the Force. The Committee considers that, in the context of the overall budget for the Garda Siochana, the additional resources necessary would be minimal and that the Force would benefit significantly as a result.

2.8The Committee was disappointed that no specialised facilities such as a library, research capacity and a specialised staff were provided for the Garda Siochana College or for the Training Centre. The Garda Siochana cannot be innovative and keep abreast with modern policing developments, without having access to an adequate properly staffed research facility.

2.9The Committee calls for immediate action to provide the minimal resources which are necessary to provide

(i)adequate training at all levels in the Garda Siochana, and

(ii)a research capacity with professional staff backed-up by a well-stocked library.

2.10The Committee makes a number of specific recommendations in relation to training, including:-

(i)all Recruit Gardai should successfully undergo an intensive two-year probation/training/education period, with specific objectives, tests and performance appraisal, leading to the award of a Diploma in Police Studies before being offered appointments as Gardai. There should be a psychological input into the selection process at this stage of the procedure.

(ii)the provision of adequate on-the-job training facilities and opportunities,

(iii)the development of the Garda Siochana College with an emphasis on training and development for managerial positions within the Force.

2.11The Committee considers that the Garda Siochana College should be designated as an institution to which the National Council for Educational Awards Act should apply. This would give the College an enhanced status as an official third-level institution. It would also facilitiate the College to develop a broad range of courses which would result in the award of academic qualifications, for instance, national certificates or diplomas and, ultimately, degrees. The College and its staff would be provided with a mechanism for the detailed evaluation of its plans and programmes by teams of academic and non-academic experts. This would help to ensure that students who undergo such courses would meet the stated professional requirements.

2.12The Committee considers that the recruitment and training process should be utilised for effective manpower planning and for deployment policies. There is a need for greater emphasis on manpower planning within the Force and the information gained during the two-year probation/training/education period should form the basis for deployment policies.

2.13The Committee’s recommendations are dealt with in greater detail in the various Sections below.

3. Present position in relation to the recruitment of Gardai

3.1The Select Committee obtained information from the Department of Justice and the Civil Service Commissioners about the present procedures for recruiting Gardai. This Section is devoted to a review of the strength and expected recruitment levels and of the procedures for recruiting Gardai.

3.2The legal maximum strength of the Garda Siochana is laid down by a Statutory Order made by the Government. The actual strength, which may be any figure up to, and including, the maximum strength, is determined, from time to time, by Government decision. In May, 1981, the then Government decided to increase the maximum strength of the Force from 10,002 to 12,000, and to bring the actual strength to 11,000. In July, 1982, the Government decided to bring the actual strength of the Force to 12,000, but this level was not achieved. The present actual strength is 11,400 and the Government has decided that it will continue at this level for the next three years. One effect of this decision is that the numbers of Gardai to be recruited will be relatively small compared with recent past years. It is expected that about 250/300 Gardai will be recruited in 1985.

3.3The Regulations governing admission to the Force provide that, to be eligible for appointment, candidates must meet the following requirements:-

(i)be of good character,

(ii)be not less than 5’9” in height (male) and 5’5” (female),

(iii)be between the ages of 18 and 26 years (certain age deductions in respect of service in the Defence Forces apply),

(iv)be in good health, of sound constitution and fitted physically and mentally to perform the duties of a member of the Force.

The Regulations also provide that the Commissioner shall not appoint and enrol a person, if it appears to him that the person is generally unsuitable for appointment.

3.4The main features of the recruitment procedures are:

(i)a preliminary interview at local level, generally by the District Officer (Superintendent rank),

(ii)an educational examination, conducted by the Civil Service Commissioners. However, candidates who have at least five D grades in the Leaving Certificate Examination (or equivalent), including Irish, English and Mathematics are exempt from this examination. Candidates must also sit an aptitute test conducted by the Civil Service Commissioners,

(iii)a competitive interview, conducted under the aegis of the Civil Service Commissioners, of all candidates who qualify at the educational examination, or are exempt from it by virtue of their Leaving Certificate results,

(iv)the Civil Service Commissioners forward to the Garda Commissioner a list of candidates who qualify at the competitive interview, set out in order of merit,

(v)a medical examination, and where appropriate, oral Irish test, of those candidates placed sufficiently high in the order of merit to come into the reckoning for appointment.

3.5The selection procedure to be applied in future recruitment competitions is being examined by the Department of Justice, the Garda authorities and the Civil Service Commissioners.

4. Committee’s views on Garda Recruitment


4.1The present procedure seems unduly cumbersome, time-consuming, expensive and inefficient while not being designed to ensure that unsuitable candidates are not selected. The fact that all applicants must apply at their local Station and have measurements taken and a report prepared by the local Gardai, is unduly time-consuming especially when only a small proportion will be offered positions.

Psychological tests - Background

4.2The Committee examined the Report of the Garda Siochana Committee of Inquiry (Ryan Inquiry) (1979) and the Report of the Commission on the Garda Siochana (Conroy Report) (1970) in so far as they related to recruitment. The relevant extracts are shown at Appendix C.

4.3Among the recommendations in the Conroy Report in relation to the recruitment procedure was the following:-

“Each candidate who qualifies at the written examination should, before acceptance, undergo an aptitude test administered by a qualified psychologist at an early stage in the recruitment procedure”.

4.4The Ryan Inquiry (1979) reiterated this view when it stated that:-

“The present educational examination should be supplemented by aptitude and other relevant psychological tests”.

Psychological tests - present position

4.5There has recently been a public announcement that such tests are being considered for future recruitment competitions. A group of Psychologists is examining the practicability of introducing psychological testing as part of the selection process. The Committee understands that these psychologists are about to report to the Civil Service Commissioners on their deliberations.

Psychological testing - Committee’s recommendations

4.6The Committee considers that, whatever about the scientific feasibility of such a proposal, it would be impractical to introduce psychological tests for all candidates who meet the educational requirement. A number of specific tests have been developed in the United States for the purpose of assessing the suitability of candidates for police duties. There are a number of different tests. One, for example, measures four psychological areas which are considered to be related to the role of the police, namely, emotional maturity, integrity/control, intellectual efficiency, and interpersonal skills. Other tests are multiple choice tests designed to assess, for example, observational ability, police attitudes, judgement and common sense and aptitude for dealing with people.

4.7The Committee has no information on the effectiveness of such tests, but considers that the possibility of using and testing them on Recruit Gardai, during their two-year probation/training period, should be examined by the psychologist involved in that training programme. The Committee is aware that it may not be possible to simply take such tests and that they may need to be adopted or amended to suit the Irish personality and environment.

Recruitment procedures - Committee’s recommendations


4.8The aim of reforms in the recruitment procedure should be to recruit, in the most efficient and economical manner, Gardai of a high standard, who will be suitable for the work of the Force.

4.9The selection procedures should be streamlined and the Committee’s proposals implemented at the next recruitment campaign. There should be greater flexibility in the approach to recruiting Gardai depending on the circumstances at any particular time.

Regular recruitment pattern

4.10Recruitment should take place on a regular annual or bi-annual basis. The frequency of recruitment should be related to the probable number of vacancies to be filled and to the quality of the applicants. The Committee is opposed to large scale recruitment from one competition, if it is probable that the holding of a second competition would produce a better standard of candidate. Recruitment should be at a Recruit Garda rank which would be a full-time temporary appointment for a maximum of two years. These two years would be in the nature of a probation/training/education programme and would lead to the award of a Diploma in Police Studies. Only Recruit Gardai who successfully complete this programme should be offered appointments as Gardai.

Initial application

4.11The initial step in the recruitment process should involve an application to the Civil Service Commissioners, which would detail educational attainments, physical measurements and age.

Aptitude tests

4.12Applicants who meet the minimum standards for entry should then undergo a series of aptitude tests, for example, in arithmetic, spelling, use of words, and observation. The Civil Service Commissioners should prepare a list of candidates, based on the order of merit achieved at the aptitude tests. This list should be forwarded to the Garda Commissioner who would be responsible for the remainder of the selection process.

Second stage of recruitment process

4.13The Commissioner should consider what number of candidates should proceed to the next stage of the recruitment process. This number would be, obviously, some multiple of the number of appointments expected to be made from the competition. This number will vary from time to time and flexibility should be the key-note having regard, for instance, to changing economic and employment circumstances and the relative attractiveness of employment in the Garda Siochana.

Report on candidates

4.14Whatever number proceed to the next stage of the competition it should involve the preparation, by local Garda Officers, of a report, to the Commissioner, on the applicant. This report should be available to the board which is established to interview candidates.

Interview Board

4.15The interview board should be composed of:

(i)members of the Force (or former members with, say, five years of their retirement) of Inspector rank or higher,

(ii)a member of the community drawn from, for example, a Neighbourhood Watch Committee or a Residents/Tenants Organisation, and


The interviews should be detailed searching enquiries designed to ascertain an applicant’s potential suitability for appointment to the Garda Siochana. The Psychologist should have a major role to play in considering the applicant’s personality traits and reaction to stressful situations. The Committee considers that the question of stress is a major factor to be taken into account in considering suitability. A recent study, of occupational stress, by the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, placed police at second place in a list of most stressful occupations.

4.16The medical examination should be carried out on the same day as the interview.

Physical Tests

4.17The Committee was interested to note that while certain physical requirements are stated in the regulations, there is, at present, no physical tests of candidates. The Committee was informed that in certain police forces in the United States candidates must pass a physical fitness test. At a time when the number of applicants far outweighs the number of vacancies arising, every effort should be made to recruit those persons who are most suitable and a certain minimum level of physical fitness is a requirement for the job as a Garda. This testing could be undertaken in the Garda Training Centre, or other suitable venue, as part of the final selection process.

Graduate entry

4.18The Committee considered the question of a graduate entry scheme, but decided that such a scheme was neither necessary nor could it be justified at the present time. The Committee was advised that, over the past few years, graduates are being encouraged to join the Force by the awarding of additional increments for persons with degrees. There are, at present, sixty nine graduates in the Force, 3 Chief Superintendents, 5 Superintendents, 6 Inspectors, 24 Sergeants and 31 Gardai.

4.19The Committee considers that, in the absence of a graduate entry scheme, the Garda Authorities must provide the training, facilities and opportunities for people with ability, initiative and potential to enable them to rise more rapidly through the ranks than has been the position in the past. In this connection, it appears that, while graduate entrants receive additional increments, serving members of the Force who acquire third level degrees do not qualify for additional increments. While there is an obvious cost consideration in any such concession the Committee finds the anomoly to be unsupportable. The Committee recommends equality of treatment in relation to the grant of increments for degree level education.

4.20There is a need for a much more positive approach to education and training and the absence of a graduate entry scheme means that the importance of such education and training becomes much greater.

4.21The Committee considers that members of the Force should be positively encouraged to undertake third level studies. This objective can be approached in two ways, namely,

(i)establish a quota system whereby a number of members of the Force, especially at Garda level, are given full-time release to attend a third-level institution with a view to acquiring a degree. There should be a very wide range of options available in the types of courses which may be undertaken, including Arts degrees,

(ii)actively encouraging other members to undertake courses of study in their spare time. This would involve the refund of fees, granting of study leave and the provision of the necessary facilities and opportunities to enable members to plan to complete their courses.

5. Present position in relation to training of recruit Gardai Introduction

5.1All candidates who successfully complete the recruitment process and who are offered and accept an appointment with the Garda Siochana are placed on probation for 2 years from the date of their initial appointment to the Force;

during that two years they are called “Recruit Gardai”. The remainder of this section is devoted to an outline of the training of such recruits.

Formal Training (Part I)

5.2On joining the Force a recruit undergoes an intensive training course of 22 weeks duration at the Garda Training Centre, Templemore, Co. Tipperary. During the 22 weeks course the recruit begins his day by rising at 7.30 a.m., has his breakfast at 8 a.m. and attends a parade at 9 a.m., after which his day’s instruction begins. He works from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, inclusive, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. Daily instruction is broken up into seven 50-minute sessions on each full working day and four sessions on Saturday. There is a study period from 7.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. each evening, Monday to Friday, inclusive.

5.3A summary of the number of sessions on each subject for the 22 weeks is given hereunder:-

(i)Law and Police Procedure through the English Language

376 sessions (44% of formal syllabus). About 60 Acts of Parliament are dealt with, the more important ones being the Road Traffic Acts, Liquor Licensing Laws, Larceny Acts, Offences Against the Person Act, Firearms Acts, Dangerous Drugs Acts and legislation peculiar to the Dublin Metropolitan Area. Apart from lectures on the theoretical aspect, practical instruction is given on such subjects as summonses, arrests, taking of statements, evidence and court procedure, traffic signals, inspection of licensed premises, investigation of drunken driving cases and road traffic accidents. After the investigation files are completed by the recruits, mock courts are held to give students an opportunity of giving evidence and of being cross-examined.

At the beginning of the 7th, 14th and 21st weeks, the recruits undergo a written examination in law and police procedure, the pass mark being 50%. If a recruit fails, he is relegated to the next junior class and will have to repeat the examination.

(ii)Law and Police Procedure through the Irish Language

84 sessions (10% of formal syllabus). Each citizen of the State has a Constitutional right to have proceedings taken through the medium of the Irish language and, accordingly, instruction includes a revision of the recruit’s previous studies of the language, with emphasis on legal and official terms in Irish, reporting on common police matters and giving evidence in court. Written examinations are held at the 5th, 11th and 17th weeks, the pass mark again being 50%. Oral Irish proficiency tests are held, during the 9th or 10th week of training by civilian examiners appointed by the Civil Service Commissioners.

(iii)Foot Drill

92 sessions (10% of formal syllabus). This includes, for example, marching, company drill, figure marching, ceremonial drill for inspections and drill for funeral parades.

(iv)Physical Training

85 sessions (10% of formal syllabus). This involves various exercises in physical fitness, with special emphasis on police self-defence. Qualifying physical efficiency tests are given at the end of the course.

(v)Swimming and Life Saving

43 sessions (5% of formal syllabus). In addition to the formal syllabus time, facilities for recreational swimming and practice are made available to recruits. Swimming and life saving tests are held towards the end of the course.

(vi)First Aid

15 sessions (2% of formal syllabus). This course, in standard first aid, is set out by the Irish Red Cross Society. The Garda instructors all hold that Society’s teaching certificate. An examination is held at the end of the course and successful recruits are issued with certificates by the Irish Red Cross Society.


22 sessions (3% of formal syllabus). Instruction is mainly on the 38 revolver and includes a number of practical tests on the firing range with live ammunition. Elementary instruction is given on the rifle, shotgun, automatic pistol and sub-machine gun.


41 sessions (5% of formal syllabus). This is a varied programme, taking in report writing, debates, public speaking, use of the telephone, use of telex, radio transmitting and receiving sets, and closed circuit television. Trainees may take typing courses (optional) which are provided locally by the V.E.C.

(ix)Crowd Control

17 sessions (2% of formal syllabus). These sessions include practical lessons and film dealing with control of large gatherings and disorderly groups, including riots.

(x)Civil Defence

4 sessions (1% of formal syllabus). The basic course on this subject includes lectures, films and outdoor practical instruction which covers fire-fighting and rescue from burning and damaged buildings.

(xi)Technical Instruction

15 sessions (2% of formal syllabus). This course consists of lectures and practical demonstrations on fingerprints, footprints, preparing sketches and map reading.

(xii)Community Relations

20 sessions (2% of formal syllabus). This subject includes public and human relations, social skills, youth work and juvenile delinquency.


41 sessions (4% of formal syllabus). Talks by training staff and extern lecturers on such subjects as: Organisation and Role of the Force, Discipline Regulations, Representative Body Regulations, The Constitution of Ireland, Development of Powers of Observation, Courtesy, Politeness, Etiquette and General Smartness, Mountain Rescue, Alcoholism, Mental Illness and related matters, Drugs, The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, E.O.D. Briefing (Explosives).

5.4Recruits participate in a total of 855 sessions of instruction. In addition to this they have a further 220 hours compulsory study and are expected to spend about the same amount of additional time studying. It is obvious that they undergo a very intensive training period during the 22 week course. For the sake of comparison it is of interest to note that lectures for certain degree courses and diploma courses average at 400-500 sessions per academic year. This is approximately half of the time spent by recruits at formalised study sessions.

5.5Recruits are under considerable pressure during their training course. There are advantages in working under such pressure which is designed to prepare recruits for the pressures which they will face during the course of their working day. They should be better equipped to cope after the experience gained as recruit trainees. Nevertheless, we make further comments on this at Section 6 below and certain recommendations at Section 11.

On-the-job training

5.6After successful completion of the Part I of his training a recruit is allocated to a station where, in theory, he undergoes a further period of four weeks on-the-job training. The intention is that he accompanies a senior member of the station party on duty and becomes familiar with the practical aspects of routine police work. At the end of the four weeks, his superiors prepare a report on his progress and suitability. If he is suitable, he will remain at that station for a further year.

Formal Training - Part II

5.7After the completion of one year’s service at a station, a recruit is scheduled to return to the Training Centre for a course of four weeks duration. Most of this period is devoted to law and police procedure, with some foot drill, physical training and swimming. Difficulties encountered by the recruit in the course of his work at his station are discussed. The recruit’s performance is again assessed.

6. Committee’s views on training of Recruit Gardai


6.1The Committee considers that there is an urgent need for a radical alteration in the content and approach in the training of Recruit Gardai.

6.2The Committee was disappointed with the amount of time devoted to “foot drill” - ninety-two sessions (or 10% of the course). There is too much emphasis on what was considered to be a military type approach to discipline. This was manifested not only by the foot drill, but also by the overall atmosphere which exists in the Templemore complex. In one sense this may be inevitable having regard to the fact that part of the complex is occupied by the Army. The Committee members who visited the Scottish Police College were very impressed with the emphasis in that establishment on self-discipline.

The aim is to develop a mature emotional response in individuals, to various situations which they may be called upon to face, by encouraging the notion of self-discipline. The regime in the Training Centre seems to be much stricter with rules and regulations playing a very important role and an emphasis on compliance with those rules. A fundamental aim of a training programme should be the development of a sense of self-discipline and maturity in the individual.

Course content

6.3The Committee was very impressed by the volume of material and information to be assimilated by Recruit Gardai in a relatively short time of 22 weeks. The time devoted to the one subject of law and police procedure is, roughly, equivalent to the level of formal education in an academic year in a third level institution. Yet this represents less than half of the formal structured recruit training programme. However ninety-two sessions are devoted to foot drill, representing about one-tenth of the total for the course.

6.4The Committee recommends that the course structure and content be immediately altered to bring it into line with the needs of a modern police force. While the Garda Training Committee is examining this area, the Select Committee is of the view that certain fundamental changes are necessary in the recruit training programme.

Recommendations of the Committee

6.5There must be a radical reappraisal of the approach to the training of Recruit Gardai and to the content of the formal training sessions.

Outline of content of proposed training period

6.6The training period for Recruit Gardai should be of two-years duration. It should include:

(i)an initial formal training/instruction period of seven months,

(ii)a period of on-the-job training for six months,

(iii)a second formal training/instruction period of one month,

(iv)specific placements in various branches of the Garda Siochana and with related outside agencies,

(v)project work at all stages of the two-year programme,

(vi)objective-type examinations at regular intervals,

(vii)performance appraisal by the teaching staff and by special officers during on-the-job training and placements,

(viii)specific studies in educational topics of particular relevance to police work,

(ix)the award of a Diploma in Police Studies on the satisfactory completion of the two-year programme.

Content of initial formal training course

6.7The Committee considers that the present length of the initial training course at 22 weeks is too short and should be extended immediately to seven months. Once a decision to this effect is taken, the Training Officer should restructure the course. The emphasis on the new course should be on relevant law and police procedures, interpersonal skills and community relations. The amount of time at present devoted to sessions, such as foot drill, should be curtailed.

6.8The revised training course should aim to be relevant to the activities and priorities of Gardai at the present time. From an examination of the details of the syllabus for law and police procedure, it appears that quite a number of sessions are devoted to topics of a specialised nature or of relevance in only an urban or a rural area. Recruit Gardai who will be assigned to urban and to rural areas should be identified at the start of their training and the course should be structured accordingly.

On-the-job training

6.9A major problem in relation to training, at present, is the inadequacy of on-the-job training. The theory of four weeks with a more senior member of the Force learning the job on the ground is very good. The reality, however, is very different; there is a complete lack of training once a recruit is assigned to a station. This must be remedied immediately, and replaced by a period of six months on-the-job training.

6.10The on-the-job training must be given a priority which it has not been accorded to date. The Committee considers that this is a very important area. It is an essential means of harnessing the enthusiasm and energy of the recruits as they graduate from the Training Centre. From discussions which the Committee had with recruits it became obvious that they were committed to the role they would have to play in the Garda Siochana. However, this interest appears to wane after spending a short time on full-time police duties. One of the reasons for this lowering of interest appears to be a lack of commitment, or time provided, by the management grades in the Force towards getting the best from the recruits, and a failure to make the necessary efforts to provide recruits with on-the-job training.

6.11The Committee recommends that a number of practical steps must be taken to provide the opportunity for on-the-job training, namely

(a)A Sergeant should be appointed, in each Division, with responsibility for the training needs of Recruit Gardai appointed to that Division. In Dublin, it may be necessary to have a Sergeant for each District or large Station. Each Recruit Garda would work for a short period directly under the close supervision of the Sergeant with responsibility for training and acquire practical experience of police work. After the expiration of this period of on-the-job training, recruits should be assigned to their appropriate station. The Sergeant from the Divisional Office should retain close contact with the recruits for the remainder of their probation and on-the-job training. In addition to such close liaison, there should be regular meetings of all Recruit Gardai in the Division/District for discussions of any problems.

(b)One of the practical difficulties in relation to on-the-job training is that a recruit, once assigned to a station, is regarded as a fully-fledged Garda and is there to fill a vacancy which has arisen at that station. The Committee recognises this difficulty, but is of the view that, now that the number of Gardai has stabilised, a special effort should be made in this respect. It appears that during the current year about 250/300 recruits will be taken into the Force. This represents a turnover in staff of about 1½%. This is a very small proportion of the total membership of the Force and the allocation of a small amount of supervisory and management time should not be unduly difficult. Substantial benefits should be reaped, for the overall benefit of the Force, which would more than repay the initial investment of time and effort.


6.12The Committee understands that a further difficulty for the Recruit Gardai at present is that they are sometimes assigned to what are known as “flexi-shifts”. These shifts operate at different times to the ordinary three shifts; their hours are from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. and from 6.00 p.m. to 2.00 a.m. The theory is that they enable more manpower to be provided at those times when the demands on manpower are greatest. They suffer from a very severe drawback, at present, in that no Sergeants are assigned to these shifts. The Sergeants on the “normal” shifts have a nominal responsibility for them, but the effective implementation of this is very difficult; during any tour of duty on the “flexi-shifts”, there will be two Sergeants operating on the “normal” shift - one for the first half and another on a different shift for the second half of their tour of duty. This difficulty should be resolved immediately and if these “normal” shift Sergeants are responsible for the “flexi-shifts” they should exercise that responsibility. This, however, is not a practical alternative. A Sergeant on a “normal” shift who is on duty with members on a “flexi-shift” for half of their working tour on a given day may discover that several days will pass before his duty tour again coincides with theirs. As members on the “flexi-shift” are mostly young and inexperienced they need the advice and guidance of the Sergeant with whom they can identify and who will have a personal interest in the problems they encounter.

Recruit Gardai not to be part of the strength of the Force

6.13In order to adopt a more rational long-term approach to the recruitment and training process, the Committee recommends that the overall actual strength of the Garda Siochana should refer to Gardai who have completed their training programme. Recruit Gardai should not be counted for the purpose of the overall actual strength of the Force but should be available, properly trained, to take up vacancies as they arise. The Committee realises however that the cost implications of this recommendation may make it unattractive to the Government at the present time, nevertheless, it is anxious that serious consideration be given to this recommendation.

Problem of undertrained Recruit Gardai

6.14A further practical problem facing the Garda authorities at present is the number of Gardai, who did not participate in Part II of the recruit training programme, that is, the formal four-week training session. These Gardai can be divided into two groups, namely,

(i)Recruit Gardai who have not completed their probation period,

(ii)Gardai who have completed their probation period and who are now established Gardai.

The Committee considers that these two groups should be dealt with in different ways, but that both groups should undergo the further training. The Gardai who have not completed their probation should be taken back to the Training Centre for this training. Those who have completed their probation should be taken to the in-service training centres for this training. The Committee considers that there is a need for different action in relation to the two groups; Gardai who have completed their probation should not return to the Training Centre which is used, and should continue to be used, only for Recruit Gardai on PROBATION.

Title of Training Centre

The Committee considered the titles “Garda Training Centre” and that of the Chief Superintendent in charge, namely, Training Officer, and decided that consideration should be given to a change of titles. The Committee is of the view that the title “Garda Siochana College” should be used for the entire training complex. There should be a clear division of responsibility within the organisation with Recruit training being the responsibility of a Director of Recruit Training and all other training and education being the responsibility of a Director of Education.


6.15The Committee considers that specific placement experience should form part of the Recruit Garda’s programme.

6.16There is a tendency in any organisation for its members to become inward looking and to see other related agencies as a source of conflict. The training of Recruit Gardai should include their placement with other agencies, which have a role to play in dealing with people who come, or are likely to come, into conflict with the Garda Siochana. This would include Social Workers, the Probation and Welfare Service, the Courts and the Prisons.

6.17This experience would give the Recruit Gardai a better understanding of the respective roles of the various organisations. It would also highlight the nature of the services provided by the community and the need for positive interaction between all related organisations.

Project work

6.18Recruit Gardai should be required to undertake project work, not only in relation to the Garda Siochana, but also in relation to the agencies with which they are placed. This work should form part of the basis for assessment over the two-year probation period and should be considered in the context of the award of the Diploma at the end of that period.


6.19There should be a regular series of examinations with particular emphasis on objective type tests. These tests provide for a large number of questions with alternative answers provided. The student is required to choose the correct answer. This system, apart from being easy to mark, is a very objective test of the student’s knowledge. It also offers a much clearer opportunity, as compared with the customary written style answers, to discuss with students their performance. The necessity to review, with a class of Recruits, their answers to questions at examinations, is essential.

Performance appraisal

6.20An appraisal of each Recruit Garda’s performance is an essential feature of the probation period. This is separate from the assessments made on the basis of written examinations and should relate to the Recruit Garda’s suitability for employment in the Force. This performance appraisal should be carried out, not only while serving in the Force, but also during placements with outside agencies.

6.21On a more general level, consideration should also be given to introducing staff appraisal for the Force as a whole.

7. The role of the Garda Siochana College


7.1The Garda Siochana College was established on 16th February 1981 at Templemore, Co. Tipperary. It is concerned with higher training, that is, training and education for members of the ranks of Inspector, Superintendent and Chief Superintendent. The College provided the Committee with a general statement of its objectives, philosophy and curricula. These are summarised in the following paragraphs.

College Objectives

7.2The objectives which the College set for itself are:-

(a)to provide higher training for officers of the Garda Siochana entering Inspectors, Superintendents, and Chief Superintendents ranks,

(b)to organise ‘recurrent’ training for Inspectors, Superintendents and Chief Superintendents,

(c)to promote police-related research.

The higher training courses are designed to “enhance the officer’s sense of responsibility, broaden his educational horizon and outlook and activate his thinking faculties.” To achieve these objectives, the programmes include “some aspects of liberal arts, based in social science, which provides a good foundation for a better understanding of police work.”

College Philosophy

7.3The College states that a basic tenet of its philosophy is that Gardai should strive to maintain a close identity with the communities they serve. The College seeks to develop, through the higher training courses, its identity with the community, as well as its wish to be progressive operationally and organisationally. The College believes that it has, as a prime responsibility, the aim of giving Garda officers who attend it at any level, a clear understanding of those basic, liberal and humane values that are central to our society. It also seeks to work towards professional recognition which must have as its essential base, not only an emphasis on managerial and technical efficiency, but more importantly, a firm commitment to provide a human, people-orientated, legal and protective service for the community.

In doing this, the College sets out to recognise and incorporate all features of life - the social ethical, civil, legal and humane - into its Training/Education Programmes. Officers attending the College must be sufficiently motivated to keep abreast of the progress in the allied fields of law, sociology, science and technology in so far as they affect and influence their role as professional policemen.


7.4For many years now, Police Colleges throughout the world have been searching for an appropriate Police Training/Education model. The search has been centered on general descriptive categories such as “liberal arts”, “social sciences”, “vocational”, “professional” and “theoretical”. It is not so much that these categories lack substance, but they tend to be historically derived educational models which are experiencing some difficulty in the present. The following four points represent the current consensus as to what should be attempted in formulating the curricula:-

(a)The curriculum should be based on a broad liberal arts education rather than on narrow training needed to perform operational tasks.

(b)The curriculum should deal with the entire span of the criminal justice system and process, and its relationship to society in general rather than focus on just one subject such as police science.

(c)The curriculum should strike a balance between theoretical and practical realities.

(d)The curriculum should be completely interdisciplinary in nature in order to reflect the modern nature of police work.

7.5The College acknowledges that the “ideal” curriculum can only be developed through the close co-operation of Garda Officers, Garda Representative Associations, College Educators and Administrators and the community they serve.

College Lecturers

7.6The Garda College is concerned about the risk of becoming introspective or academically isolated and has forged very valuable links with the universities and other third level institutes.

On the professional side, the College can draw from a team of knowledgeable and experienced Garda Siochana Officers. In this way a balance is struck between the professional and the more general experience of training.


7.7The formation of a Garda College Library follows from the establishment of the College itself. The college is an ideal central institution where a first rate Police library would provide opportunities for research which have hitherto been lacking. The present Garda Library collection contains a set of statutes, a selection of Statutory Instruments but only a small collection of general works.

Courses Conducted

7.8The following is a list of the courses at present being conducted by the Garda Siochana College:-

(i)Seminars for Chief Superintendents

These seminars are held annually over three days and deal with topics of current interest to the Force.

(ii)Post-Promotion course for Superintendents

These courses are held annually and are of 12 weeks duration. The topics include Crime (43 hours), Management (147 hours), Personal development (138 hours), Administration (21 hours) and Miscellaneous (55 hours).

(iii)In-Service courses for Superintendents

These courses are held every second year for one weeks duration. They deal with topics which are of current interest to the Force.

(iv)Post-Promotion course for Inspectors

These courses are held annually and are of 12 weeks duration. The topics are similar to those for the Superintendents but with more time devoted to crime and less time to the other topics.

(v)In-Service course for Inspectors

These courses are held every second year and are of one weeks duration. The course centres on the role of an Inspector in staff management, work organisation and communication.

(vi)National Diploma course in Personnel Management

There are fifteen participants on this course in rank from Sergeant to Chief Superintendent. The course is over three years and involves block releases (16 weeks) plus residential weekends (2) and work-based assignments. The course is coming to the end of its third year and has been very successful.

(vii)Pre-Retirement Planning course for all ranks

Four courses of two days duration are held annually to help members plan for retirement.

7.9The National Diploma Course is conducted in conjunction with the N.I.H.E., Limerick, and it represents an excellent example of how appropriate professional courses can be modified to meet specific police requirements.

8. Committee’s views on the Garda Siochana College


8.1The Committee is convinced of the need for an up-to-date fully operational Garda Siochana College. It has a central role to play in the development of a management orientated police force and, in so doing, should contribute significantly to the role that the Garda Siochana plays in our society as we approach and enter the twenty-first century.


8.2When the College was established in 1981 it was assigned accommodation in the Garda Training Centre in Templemore, Co. Tipperary. The Committee understands that plans were subsequently drawn up and approved for purpose-built accommodation in the grounds at Templemore. This, however, has not yet reached the stage where building has commenced, solely, it would appear, because of lack of finance. The Committee considers that proper facilities must be made available if the College is to perform its vital role. The Committee recommends that funds should be provided for this building as a matter of urgency.

Library/research capacity

8.3An essential requirement of any Police College is a library and a research capacity. If the College is to develop its training and educational roles, the provision of a fully stocked professional library is a prerequisite. With the College placing greater emphasis on general studies, there has been a corresponding widening of subject coverage and the library requires a good basic stock in literature, history, economics, sociology, psychology, management and current affairs. In a rapidly changing society, current analysis provides signposts for future trends. An in-depth awareness of the environment in which the Gardai operate is most essential. A collection of Irish interest material outlining the social, economic, political, cultural and historical developments of the recent past would provide an enlightened overview of our present society.

8.4The staffing arrangements for the College library need to be examined. It appears to the Committee that, if the library is to be expanded, a qualified librarian must be appointed. The Committee is advised that such a move would not be more costly than the present arrangements and may even be more cost-effective. If this is the case, then a qualified librarian should be appointed immediately.

8.5The Committee acknowledges the excellent assistance provided by the local authority in the provision of library facilities to the College. This, however, is no substitute for the College being provided with its own library facilities.

8.6The Committee considers that the provision of an adequate research capacity needs to be approached from two distinct angles, namely,

(i)by professional and qualified Garda Officers seconded to the College for a specific period of time, and

(ii)by outside people from the Universities and other third-level institutions who should be encouraged to examine topics of relevance to the Garda Siochana in the course of their studies.

8.7The research would entail, for instance, the preparation of material for distribution throughout the Force on developments in particular areas of relevance to the Garda Siochana. Close liaison between the staff in the research area and the Sergeants responsible for the on-the-job training of recruits would provide an ideal background support to on-the-job training. With the development of modern information systems, the research area of the College could become a focal point for keeping Gardai aware of the up-to-date position on any relevant topic, for example, in relation to Statutory Instruments or relevant case law.

8.8On a more general note, the Committee is aware of the need to evaluate the effectiveness of various schemes operating within the “Criminal Justice” area. There are graduates within the Force who may be very interested in becoming involved in such activities. There is a need to monitor developments and to collect empirical evidence that Garda activities in certain areas are having an effective impact. This applies as much to a new scheme such as Neighbourhood Watch, as it does to fairly long established schemes such as the Juvenile Liaison Scheme. In relation to the latter scheme, how does one, for instance, measure its effectiveness, or determine the benefits to be gained from visiting schools. This is not to question the very important role which the Juvenile Liaison Scheme plays, but rather to raise the question as to the absence of any empirical evidence to measure its success or the relative success of various parts of the scheme. These are given as examples of areas which could benefit from a detailed research study.

Status of the Garda Siochana College

8.9The College received a Certificate of Approval, from the National Council for Educational Awards, for its Diploma course in Personnel Management. The Committee considers that the College should have the status of a third-level institution. It should be designated as an institution to which the National Council for Educational Awards Act 1979 should apply.

8.10Other colleges which started with Diploma courses have raised the level to that of a degree, for example, the Institute of Public Administration. The Military College is proceeding along the route towards approval for degree level courses.

8.11The status of the College would be enhanced by the establishment of closer links with the universities and other third-level institutions. This would be a two-way operation with the College staff assisting in, say, lecturing in other institutions while they, in turn, co-operated by encouraging interest and research in the criminal justice area. The universities could help by awarding masters/doctorate degrees for research in areas relevant to the police.

8.12The Committee understands that there has been a staff exchange with the John Jay College in America. More such exchanges should be encouraged as a means both of promoting the status of the Garda Siochana and opening the force to a very direct input of different views tempered by a different society. Such exchanges should not be limited to England and America, but should include continental European countries. It would be necessary to ensure that adequate language training courses were attended by suitable exchange personnel. The cost of these proposals would be relatively small and the Committee recommends that its recommendation in this regard be implemented at an early date.

Promotion Courses

8.13The present position regarding promotion courses is that officers are sent on courses after they have been promoted. The Committee recommends a change in this approach and recommend that all officers should be required to undergo a course prior to promotion. In such circumstances, the satisfactory completion of the promotion course should be a prerequisite to promotion to the higher level. This should operate for all promotions from Sergeant to Inspector and upwards. Consideration could be given at a later date to extending this recommendation to include promotion from Garda to Sergeant.

8.14If such a system were introduced it is expected that it would create a greater commitment to the question of management and the use of training and education to achieve the overall aim of a more effective police force.

9. In-service training

9.1While mention has already been made of the need to provide Recruit Gardai with on-the-job training, on-going training for all ranks needs to be provided.

9.2The Committee considers that there are two aspects to in-service training, namely,

(i)formal in-service training provided at Regional Training Schools, and

(ii)on-the-job training.

9.3In-service training is provided at Regional Training Schools at Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Kilkenny, Sligo and Carrickmacross. This training extends over a four day period at intervals of twelve to eighteen months. While the contents of the training are dictated by local needs, the general objectives are to motivate members to provide revision of subjects previously covered and instruction on new legislation or instructions.

9.4On-going on-the-job training is essential if the Garda Siochana is to provide an efficient customer-orientated service.

9.5The Committee considers that this is an area which the Garda Training Committee could usefully examine in detail.

10. Specialised Training

10.1Apart from the training of recruits, that provided by the Garda College and the in-service training, there is an obvious need for specialised training for specific duties within the Force. The Committee did not examine all of the various specialised courses. The Committee was of the view that this would be more appropriate to the Garda Training Committee and would be beyond the scope of its own resources. However, the Committee did examine the position in relation to the training of Garda drivers.

10.2The Driving School, situated in the Templemore complex, conducts four courses, namely, Elementary, Standard, Advanced Driving courses and Standard Motor Cycle courses. The School is under the control of a Sergeant-in-charge who is directly responsible to the Assistant Training Officer (Superintendent); other sections are directly responsible to Chief Instructor (Inspector) or the Training Inspector. Instructors at the School have the skill and expertise necessary to conduct driving courses at the highest level; some have qualified at the Class I Advanced Driving course at the London Metropolitan Police Motor Driving School in Hendon.

10.3The Elementary Driving Course is intended for auxiliary drivers of official cars. The period of this course has been gradually reduced from six weeks to the present eight days. The most recent change from three weeks to eight days occurred earlier this year. This compares very unfavourably with the position in London where there is a three week course, for officers with full licences, comprising six days full-time instruction and nine days with three hours per day. This course is designed to teach students to drive the basic beat patrol vehicles.

10.4The Standard Driving Course, lasting three weeks, is intended for members who have taken the elementary course and are selected to become Official drivers.

10.5The Advanced Driving Course, lasting two weeks, is designed for specialist groups, such as the Traffic Corps, Driving Instructors and members attached to Garda Headquarters who drive State Officials. In comparison with Scotland or London, this would appear to be a very short period of training. In the Scottish Police College the course is of four weeks duration while in London it is in two phases totalling six weeks. While some time is devoted to a knowledge of theory and rules and regulations, the main emphasis is on driving skills.

10.6The Committee was advised that the number of accidents involving Garda cars in which no other vehicle is involved is relatively high. For example, of 162 accidents in rural areas, 67 occurred with no other vehicle involved; in the Dublin Metropolitan area the proportion was 75 out of a total of 303.

10.7The Committee considers that greater emphasis should be placed on the need for a high standard of driving by Garda drivers. The Committee recommends that all Garda drivers should undergo more intensive training and that consideration should be given to whether or not all drivers should be required to complete the Advanced Driving Course before being appointed as official Garda drivers.

11. Recommendations of the Committee


11.1While the Committee acknowledges that the Garda Commissioner has established the Garda Training Committee to carry out a fundamental review of training for the Force, nevertheless the Committee decided that its recommendations, summarised below, should be implemented as a matter of urgency. The Committee wants to see an immediate improvement in the training of Gardai and its recommendations are based on this objective. The implementation of these practical recommendations should not be delayed pending the outcome of the deliberations of the Garda Training Committee.

11.2The Committee considers that there is a need

(i)for a fundamental reappraisal of the role of training - both formal and on-the-job - and

(ii)for a basic change in approach to the nature and purpose of training,

if the Garda Siochana is to perform its role in society.

11.3This question of the role of the Garda Siochana is a fundamental one, which we have considered in general terms in Section 2 above, and one which needs to be examined as a topic in its own right. There is a public perception of the Gardai as being involved or concerned mainly with the detection and prevention of crime. The Committee’s view is that this public perception is very different from the actual position; Gardai are involved in providing a service to society and many of them are engaged in routine clerical and administrative roles.

11.4The Committee has decided to carry out a fundamental appraisal of the role of the Garda Siochana, its organisation and its structure. In order to assist it in this study, the Committee is going to establish a Consultative Committee of persons who may be interested in assisting the Committee on a voluntary basis. In addition, the Committee proposes to engage the services of a person, on a full-time basis, with particular expertise in this area.

11.5The following is a summary of the Committee’s recommendations:-

Garda Recruitment

(a)there should be a regular annual or bi-annual competition for the recruitment of persons to the Garda Siochana,

(b)the Leaving Certificate or its equivalent should be the minimum educational standard,

(c)all applicants should undergo a number of aptitude tests, for example, a verbal test, spelling test, arithmetic test, checking test and a general knowledge test, and should be placed on a panel in order of merit by reference to the total results of those tests. These tests should be conducted by the Civil Service Commissioners,

(d)a number of candidates should be short-listed and the details forwarded to the Garda Commissioner. Reports on candidates should be prepared at local Garda level and returned to the Commissioner who would make them available to the interview board,

(e)the number of candidates short-listed should be determined by reference to the number of vacancies to be filled from that competition. The ratio of applicants to vacancies should be such as would provide for a competitive interview, but not so great as to create an undue burden on the interview board(s),

(f)the interview board(s), which should comprise of officers of the Garda Siochana of Inspector rank or higher together with a Psychologist, should submit to the Garda Commissioner a list of candidates, in order of merit, who are considered suitable for appointment as Recruit Gardai,

(g)posts of Recruit Gardai should be temporary appointments and each Recruit Garda should have to satisfactorily complete a two-year probationary/ training period before being offered a post as a Garda.

Garda Training

(i)Recruit Gardai should undergo a two-year probationary/ training period and must satisfactorily complete all aspects of this training period before being appointed as a Garda.

(ii)The two-year probationary/training period should consist of formal class-room training, practical training sessions, specific assignments to various units in the Force and on-the-job training. The problem is the obtaining of the proper mix of the various components. The Garda Authorities should adopt a flexible attitude and vary the mix from time to time as experience dictates or as changed circumstances require. The Committee considers that the initial formal class-type training should last for 30 weeks and be followed by a period of on-the-job training. There should be further full-time class work followed by specific assignments and further practical training sessions.

(iii)A fundamental requirement of any such probationary/ training period is a regular assessment of the performance of Recruit Gardai. This should be carried out at three levels, namely,

(a)formal examinations - preferably by using objective testing techniques,

(b)project work, assignments and research essays,

(c)performance appraisal during on-the-job training which would include an assessment of suitability for the post of Garda.

(iv)A Psychologist should be actively involved in the training programme for Recruit Gardai. The opportunities afforded by this, accompanied by the research/professional facilities and staff proposed for the Garda Siochana College, should be utilised to test the relevance or reliability of specific psychological tests available in the United States which are specifically designed for police activities. It would afford a useful research opportunity to test, over a period of time, the relevance/reliability of such psychological tests. The psychological input should be an on-going feature of the two-year programme and should be aimed at assessing the suitability of persons vis-a-vis the role of a Garda.

(v)A Sergeant in each Division, or each District or some Stations in the Dublin Metropolitan Area, should be assigned specific duties as a Training Sergeant. This person would be responsible for the on-the-job training, and specific assignments/placements, of Recruit Gardai within his Division, District or Station.

(vi)Recruit Gardai should undergo a minimum of six months on-the-job training or, in effect, serve a six month apprenticeship before returning to the Training Centre for further formal training.

(vii)The satisfactory completion of the training programme should result in the award of a Diploma in Police Studies and the offer of a post as a Garda.

(viii)Gardai, including Recruit Gardai, are being assigned to new “flexi-shifts” and work under Sergeants who have a responsibility for the normal tours of duty. The Committee was informed that the “flexi-shifts” have no effective supervision. The position in relation to the supervision of such “flexi-shifts” should be clarified immediately.

(ix)Recruit Gardai should not be counted as Gardai for the purpose of arriving at the actual serving strength of the Force until they have completed their two-year probationary/training programme.

(x)Those Gardai who did not complete Part II of their recruit training (4 weeks intensive training at the Training Centre) should undergo such training as soon as possible.

(xi)The building of a purpose-built Garda Siochana College, plans for which have been drawn up and approved, should be undertaken immediately.

(xii)Certain professional staff should be employed and an adequate library and research capacity established as a matter of urgency.

(xiii)The Garda Siochana College should seek to obtain approval to provide courses of degree level status.

(xiv)The satisfactory completion of a pre-promotion course should be a pre-requisite to promotion.

12. Acknowledgement

12.1The Committee thanks Chief Superintendent J.F. Galvin, Training Officer and Chief Superintendent P.J. Moran of the Garda Siochana College for their assistance.

12.2The Committee also acknowledges the forthright assistance which they received from Mr. J. Mailing and his staff at the London Metropolitan Police’s Career Information and Selection Centre on police recruitment and training procedures in operation in that Force.

12.3The Committee is very grateful for the assistance provided by the Scottish Police College, - the Commandant Major-General David Alexander, C.B., and his staff - during the visit by a delegation from the Committee to the College.

12.4The Committee acknowledges the assistance provided by the Clerk to the Committee Mr. F.J. Brady in the preparation of this Report and the input of Miss G. Murphy, Secretary.

12.5The Committee noted, with regret, the illness of the Chairman which prevented him from attending the meeting at which this Report was agreed. In his absence, the meeting was chaired by Deputy Gay Mitchell, Vice-Chairman, who signed the Report.

Gay Mitchell T.D.


29 May, 1985.