EDITORIAL: There has been much media attention in recent times on the Garda Code of Ethics – training on which is now advanced. On completion of training, those who have attended are requested to individually sign a declaration to the effect that they have, “read and understand the Code of Ethics for An Garda Síochána and will adhere to the standards set out therein.”
However, embedding the Code requires more than simply promulgating the document itself. An Garda Síochána, as an organisation and employer, must also be seen to make a commitment to observance. The GRA feels that the process, thus far, has failed in that regard. Our members are being asked to declare adherence, yet the organisation itself is not delivering on its corresponding commitment to our membership – particularly in the area of training.
For example, in November last year the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017 was enacted. The implementation of this legislation requires our members to have intimate knowledge of its content. Still they have no specific training in this important piece of legislation.
Last year also saw the enactment of the Criminal Justice Act 2017, which at Section 3 provides for the detention of intoxicated persons. There has been no CPD in respect of this provision, which poses risks to both our members and An Garda Síochána. Risk assessment, rousing checks, first aid, restraint risks and custody handover, are just a few of the areas in which those tasked with and responsible for the proper care and treatment of intoxicated persons in custody are in urgent need of up to date education/training.
Ethics come with professionalism and as such there is an onus on An Garda Síochána as a responsible employer to provide adequate, continuous and up to date professional development, training, information, equipment, facilities and employee assistance to a minimum standard, such that all our members may be as effective as possible and reach their full career potential. In the absence of organisational support to achieve professional competency, the Code places an unfair burden on the individual member.
It is critical to note that the GRA and its members have no issue with the promotion of ethical behaviour and standards. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of those people entering An Garda Síochána are naturally predisposed in this regard. Ethical behaviour is, after all, at the heart of policing and the work these men and women undertake everyday on all our behalves.
Long will it continue.
For full and in-depth coverage, see the current printed edition of Garda Review.