The Garda’s new high-level corruption squad started work on Monday with an initial assignment of 11 officers.
The two inspectors and nine sergeants took on their roles - and will be followed by 20 members of garda rank in the next two weeks.
The Garda Anti-Corruption Unit – headed by the former head of the Criminal Assets Bureau – will have the highest clearance level in the organisation in terms of access to sensitive information on the organisation, its members and suspects.
Shortly after Garda Commissioner Drew Harris took charge over two years ago, he placed particular importance on improving the Garda’s ability to actively investigate suspected corruption in the force – basing the need on similar experiences abroad, including in the North and in Britain.
In a statement to the, Garda HQ said the establishment of the unit followed an examination of the roles and functions of similar units in other police services, including the London Met and the PSNI.
It said similar units were “standard” in other police services.
“Sergeants (9) and Inspectors (2) selected for the ACU are starting today,” the statement said. “The competition at Garda rank has been completed and those selected are due to start by mid-December. Garda staff will also be recruited.”
It said that all personnel attached to Garda ACU will undergo a training and induction period.
It added: “Commissioner Harris has repeatedly stated the importance of establishing an anti-corruption unit in An Garda Síochána.”
He did so most recently at his public meeting with the Policing Authority last Thursday.
Assistant Commissioner Pat Clavin, who oversees the unit, told that meeting that the unit would comprise 28-30 gardaí.
He said all members of if would go through a “very robust clearance” process.
He said suitable accommodation had been identified at Garda HQ and that refurbishment was “due to be carried out”.
In the interim, they were working out of a public office nearby.
He said the unit was drafting a series of policy documents: professional boundaries and abuse of power for sexual gain, business interests and secondary occupations, associations and substance misuse.
He said these were being finalised and that priority was going on professional boundaries, business interests and substance misuse.