Key justice agencies hit by staff shortages, say officials

Staff in Office of State Pathologist 'overburdened and overworked', as CAB has sanction for 93 staff but only has 84
Key justice agencies hit by staff shortages, say officials
CAB has sanction for 93 staff, but has eight vacancies, including three detective sergeants and one forensic accountant.

Staff shortages are hitting key justice agencies, with officials in the state pathologist’s office “overburdened and overworked”, according to official reports.

Forensic Science Ireland (FSI) is supposed to have 200 staff, but only has 185, while the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) has sanction for 93 staff, but has 85 employees.

The Department of Justice performance delivery agreement 2020 report on the Office of the State Pathologist said it had eight staff as of last May.

It said a key risk to its work is “lack of sufficiently trained staff including key vacancies for the positions of chief state pathologist and state pathologist”.

The impact included overburdening of existing staff members; pathologists overworked, preventing attendance at training, and pathologists unable to fulfil teaching and examination roles.

The report said new competitions will be run this month and that a training post will also be advertised. 

It said that until then, there will be locum support and that the acting chief state pathologist will continue to manage the service.

The agreement report for FSI said it has official sanction for 200 staff, but only had 185 as of last January.

The compliment now includes 24 staff from the Garda Technical Bureau. The main shortages are at forensic science grade-three level (nine vacancies) and Garda detective sergeant level (seven vacancies).

FSI has a total budget of €57m, some €39.5m of which is capital funding for the construction of a long-awaited modern laboratory, due for completion in 2022.

The report on CAB said that it has sanction for 93 staff, but has eight vacancies, including three detective sergeants and one forensic accountant.

It said the bureau’s ability to deliver on targets and operations is “predicated on maintaining its full complement of officers and staff”.

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