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Crime and Specialist Training within An Garda Síochána

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Investigative Interviewing

One of the primary functions of An Garda Síochána is the investigation, detection and prevention of crime. Eyewitness evidence and interviews with victims, complainants, witnesses and suspects is essential in this regard. Evidence, including oral evidence, must be collected and recorded within a legal and procedural framework. It must be accurate, relevant, and complete. Investigative Interview Training in An Garda Síochána has changed as a result of the forces adoption of a new Investigative Interview Model. This concept is being rolled out to members of An Garda Síochána by Garda Instructors in four modules. Learning is both classroom and practical based. Oversight of the training has being tasked to a Ministerial appointed committee who come from a wide and experience disciplines in the legal and human rights fields. 

Specialist Interviewer Training

Specialist Interviewing was established in An Garda Síochána is 2008.  In accordance with Section 16(1) (b) Criminal Evidence Act 1992 as amended, Specialist Interviewers are trained to record interviews with complainants under 14 years, (or those with an intellectual Disability), for evidential purposes in cases involving sexual and / or violent offences.  There are purpose built interview suites in Letterkenny, Sligo, Galway, Limerick, Cork, Waterford and Dublin. Specialist Interviewer Training is conducted by Core Staff at Crime Training Faculty at the Garda College. Participants undergo an intensive two (2) year training programme with the following aims:

    • Ensure that newly selected personnel to the role of Specialist Interviewer are fully equipped to meet the requirements of the job    

    • Develop the competencies identified to interview in accordance with the Rules of Evidence in Criminal Law    

    • Develop a clear understanding and focus of the key relationships bespoken to the role    

    • Promote a consistent approach to the role, responsibilities and practices of the Specialist Interviewer    

    • Encourage the application, testing and refining of new behaviours applicable to the role of Specialist Interviewer    

     • Encourage in Specialist Interviewers a learning approach that embedded in the philosophy of continuous professional development.

Detective Garda Training Programme  

The role of the ‘Detective Garda’ is pivotal in attaining Strategic Organisational goals in Crime Investigation and Detection. In light of the ‘Morris Tribunal’ discrepancies in crime investigative practices needed to be removed to ensure that irrespective of location, there is a consistent approach toward crime investigation in line with best and contemporary practice. Training is considered instrumental in identifying international and organisational best practice and ensuring such practices are represented and replicated on an organisational basis. To optimise the quality and profile of the detective role, a robust competency based training and development programme is delivered in the Garda College, Templemore.  This programme is designed to provide training to Garda personnel in crime investigative techniques.  A number of modules are delivered on this programme in areas such as Law, Human Rights, Forensic Evidence, File Preparation and Specialist Training.


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Detective Garda Personnel attend the Garda College for a two week frontloading period followed by a nine month ‘on the job’ application designed to facilitate the transfer of knowledge gleaned on stage 1 into operational policing.  A coach is appointed to support the knowledge transfer and to support the Detective Garda in their new role.  Finally the Detective Garda is required to make a presentation in the Garda College to three Senior Officer in which they must demonstrate the application of knowledge at various stages of this training and how this knowledge has been applied to their role as a Detective Garda.

Detective Sergeant Training & Development Programme college 13

The overall aims of the Detective Sergeant Training & Development Programme are to:

    • Ensure that newly selected personnel to the role of Detective Sergeant are fully equipped to meet the requirements of the job as outlined in the ‘Role Profile’.    

    • Develop the competencies identified for the role to the standard set by the organisation.    

    • Develop a clear understanding and focus of the key relationships to the role    

    • Promote a consistent approach to the role, functions and practices of the Detective Sergeant.    

    • Encourage the application, testing and refining of new behaviours with the support of their coach.    

    • Encourage a learning approach that is ongoing and embedded in a philosophy of Continuous Professional Development in the participants    

    • Raise the bar in the quality and profile of the Detective Sergeant Role

There are 3 phases in the Detective Sergeant Training & Development Programme

    • Stage 1 - Frontloading of key information on two-week module    

    • Stage 2 - Three to six months ‘Experiential Learning’ Phase with coaching support. Also, create an ‘on the job learning’ portfolio which  must be approved at a final Progress Review meeting before progressing to stage 3    

    • Stage 3 - ‘Capstone Phase’. A three day seminar involving ‘role reflection’. Participants take part in a two day simulated investigation exercise so as to immerse themselves in their roles and responsibilities as a Detective Sergeant.  Participants will be  required  to present an investigation they supervised and how they applied the Detective Sergeant role profile competencies during that investigation.

Senior Investigating Officers Programme

The Postgraduate Diploma in Serious Crime Investigation is considered the flagship of the Crime Training Faculty, reflecting excellence in investigative management within the Irish State. The provision of a professional policing service in Ireland is demanding and challenging. The SIO programme is designed to develop the expert knowledge and leadership and management skills of middle managers within An Garda Síochána and other public bodies to equip them with the knowledge and skills necessary to investigate serious crime in Ireland.

This programme is delivered by the Crime Training Faculty, in the Garda College, which was established in 2007 to provide a suite of training programmes to support the investigative function in An Garda Síochána in the areas of interviewing, canvass coordinating, crime scene investigation and the investigative management.

The Senior Investigating Officer Programme is informed by best international practice in crime investigation, internal case review by  An Garda Siochána, tribunal reports including the Morris report which made recommendations relating to Garda serious crime investigation structures, the Director of Public Prosecutions and experts in forensics, electronic investigation and arrests.

The proposed programme seeks to support and guide managers of An Garda Síochána and other public bodies that investigate serious crime (for example, the Revenue Commissioners, including the Customs Division, and Defence Forces) with a learning environment that uses their existing expert knowledge, skills and experiences to enable them to achieve a broader investigative leadership and management skills and investigative insights. While this programme has been designed primarily to meet the needs of An Garda Síochána, it will also be made available to senior investigative officers with other regulatory agencies such as the Revenue Commissioners, including the Customs Division, and the Irish Defence Forces.  

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 Incident Room Coordinators (IRC) Training

As part of the investigation of all serious crime the establishment of an incident room to coordinate the investigation is a pivotal role in the investigative process.  The function of the incident room coordinator is to support senior management in the investigation of serious crime. In conjunction with the Senior Investigative Officer the Incident Room Coordinator ensures that all lines of investigation are explored.  Furthermore they are responsible for the retention and coordination of material of evidential value. Finally the Incident Room Coordinator liaises with the Law Officers at various stages of the investigation are they are instrumental in the drafting of the Garda Investigation file which is forwarded to the Law Officers.

The Incident Room Coordinator programme is a three stage programme delivered in the Garda College, Templemore.  Stage one of this programmes is designed to up skill Incident Room Coordinators in the core competencies required to effectively perform the role of Incident Room Coordinator.  On stage two of this programme the Incident Room Coordinator is required to return to his/her station and perform the role of Incident Room Coordinator under strict supervision of an experienced Incident Room Coordinator and a Senior Investigating Officer.  Finally, having successfully completed the two aforementioned stages the Incident Room Coordinator is required to return to the Garda College, Templemore where they make a comprehensive presentation to three Senior Investigators in which they demonstrate their knowledge and competence as an Incident Room Coordinator.  On successful completion of this programme the candidate is deemed an Incident Room Coordinator.

Serious Incident Canvass Coordinators (SICC) Training

Serious Incident Canvass Coordination training is designed to upskill Garda Sergeants in effectively and efficiently gathering information from a variety of sources in the aftermath of the occurrence of a serious crime.  In its most conventional form Serious Incident Canvass Coordinators is best known as ‘house to house’ enquiries. however the role of the Serious Incident Coordinator also includes a multitude of other tasks including traffic canvass, hotel canvass, licensed premises canvass and any other location where information and evidence may be gathered in relation to the occurrence of a crime. The Serious Incident Canvass Coordination programme is a three day training programme delivered in the Garda College, Templemore.  Modules on this programme include ‘Questionnaire Design’, ‘Dealing with Unplanned Situations’, ‘Communication Skills’ and liaising with ethnic minorities.

Family Liaison Officer (FLO) training

Effective family liaison is one of the most important considerations throughout the investigation of a murder, fatal traffic collision or serious crimes. Families are an integral part of an investigation, and they must be treated appropriately, professionally with respect and according to their diverse means, which can be achieved by the deployment of a trained Family Liaison Officer (FLO). The Family Liaison Officer (FLO) maintains a direct line of communication between the investigating team and the family of the bereaved. While keeping the family abreast of developments in the investigation, the FLO is also invaluable in obtaining information and intelligence from the family. 

Family Liaison Coordinator (FLC) training

Family Liaison Coordinators are Inspectors or Detective Inspectors in each Garda division with responsibility for the supervision of members assigned as Family Liaison Officers, whether on routine deployments or in a Disaster Victim Identification incident.

Crime Training, Garda Headquarters tech bureau camera

Crime Investigation Training, Garda Headquarters, facilitates basic training and development training to Crime Scene Examiners. This training is carried out with the expert services of the Garda Technical Bureau and Forensic Science Ireland (FSI). Every Divisional Crime Scene Examiner and personnel from the Garda Technical Bureau must complete a basic Crime Scene Examiners Course. The following disciplines are included on the course:

• Fingerprints

• Photography

• Forensics

• Ballistics

• Documents

• Mapping and

• Forensic Law

Up skilling modules in photography, ballistics and fingerprinting are regularly delivered to ensure that Crime Scene Examiners receive the most up to date training and techniques that are available. Crime scene examiners also complete a basic Fire and Arson Investigation Course held at Garda Headquarters and Dublin Fire Brigade Headquarters.  

Specialist Training within An Garda Síochána

The Firearms Training UnitSerious crime

The Firearms Training Units are attached to the Garda College, Templemore and Garda Headquarters. The responsibilities of the Firearms Training Unit are the provision of both basic and refresher firearms training programs, development of training strategies, research into new firearms, equipment and matters related to firearms training within An Garda Síochána. The Firearms Training Unit at the Garda College is responsible for the initial training of the Emergency Response Unit and the Armed Support Unit. Training in Firearms Tactics incorporating live fire training, judgmental training, & less lethal training are delivered to specialist units within An Garda Siochana on an annual basis.

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The Safety Skills training unit based at the Garda College has the responsibility of the scheduling and providing training in a wide variety of operational skills courses as follows:

    1. Divisional Search Course    

    2. Custody Management Training Course    

    3. Method of Entry Training    

    4. C.B.R.N. Responders courses    

    5. Public Order Commanders tactical Advisors and Instructors courses    

    6. Mountain Bike Training    

    7. Occupational First Aid Training and Re-Certification    

    8. United Nations Pre Deployment Training    

    9. Protestor Removal training course

They also assist and play an integral role in the selection and training of members seeking entry into the Emergency Response Unit and Armed Response units based throughout the country.

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Garda Driver Training courses are delivered from two centres, the Garda College Templemore and Garda Headquarters. The role of the section is to provide driver training instruction and assessments in all categories of vehicles, utilised by the Garda Organisation. The courses in most demand, and delivered on an ongoing basis, are the Standard Response Driving Course and the Standard Motorcycle Course, reflecting the most common vehicles in use throughout the country on a daily basis.

Other courses delivered cater for the driving of vans, personnel carriers, four wheel drive vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, Incident Command vehicles and trailer towing.  More advanced training is also given to specialised units, given their role within the organisation and the variety of vehicles allocated to those units. All instruction is delivered in accordance with Roadcraft.    Roadcraft has been the proven, recognised and successful method of Police driver training for many years. Garda Driver Training works closely with many external agencies such as the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and the National Police Chief’s Council Police Driver Training forum in the U.K. to ensure that course content and delivery continues to meet international best practice, in this highly specialised section of Garda training.

The Standard Response Driving course now incorporates the Emergency Services Driving Standard (ESDS) as governed by the Road Safety Authority (RSA). This grants appropriate certification to successful candidates with all Garda instructors qualified and registered with the RSA for the delivery and assessment of ESDS.

Forensic Collision Investigation

The National Senior Forensic Collision Investigator is based at the Garda College since April 2014. They have responsibility for all FCI personnel nationwide there are 39 active FCI members. They attend Scenes of Fatal and Serious Injury Collisions and assist on G.S.O.C. cases. The N.S.F.C.I. coordinates training for the FCI’s and keeps up-to-date with best practices and any new training that can assist the FCI members in carrying out their duties. The N.S.F.C.I. also coordinates training and seminars for the PSV Inspectors (24 nationwide) including a Forensic Photography Course.