Around 3,000 gardaí unable to drive patrol cars

Around 3,000 gardaí unable to drive patrol cars

It has emerged that 3,000 gardaí still need training in how to drive a patrol car.

The Policing Authority has heard 342 of those members need basic competency driver training, while 3,000 members are waiting for Emergency Services Driving Standard training.

Gardaí are not allowed to use blue lights and sirens or break speed limits until they achieve an ESD Level 3.

The issue was raised four years ago by the authority which raised concerns over "serious organisational risks" if members were not fully trained to respond to "blue light" situations.

Many members have been driving patrol cars with “chief’s permission” despite not having the full training required.

Garda management has said it aims to be in a position to train 1,500 new members from next year – up from 400 this year.

Assistant Garda Commissioner for Roads Policing, Dave Sheahan, said they are recruiting more trainers to address the backlog.

The Assistant Commissioner said: "I accept that the number of people that require training is about 3,000 and as part of the process to try and eliminate that backlog, what we have done is look to get extra personnel into the driver training centres.

"A direction went out looking for those people on the 6th of November this year."

The authority’s chair Josephine Feehily said it is frustrating that the issue has yet to be resolved.

“It is actually quite fundamental for a policing service to be able to assure the public that members of the Garda Síochána are trained to safely drive squad cars,” she said.

“The general public have to do driving tests and people who drive commercial vehicles have to do repeat driving tests so I think it is important that we persists until we can assure the community that we are satisfied that the Guards are all trained to drive.”

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