- By Admin
The DRCC welcomes the Garda Inspectorate Report on Crime Investigation and its recommendations but unless they are implemented they have no value
Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, Chief Executive of the DRCC said: “ One of the more disconcerting aspects of the Garda Inspectorate Report on Crime Investigation from the victims of sexual crime perspective was where it was found that there were ‘examples of reclassification of a crime to invalid (where no crime was committed) when there was evidence that a crime had occurred’.
The Inspectorate found in every division visited that regular gardai were undertaking the primary investigation of sexual crimes and in many cases they continued to be the investigating garda. This they concluded could ‘result in a garda with very little experience investigating one of the most difficult investigations that an investigator will face. A rape investigation is often complex and requires good investigative skills to obtain independent corroborative and forensic evidence.’ We welcome the Inspectorate’s conclusion that they do not agree with garda policy that the investigation of serious sexual offences can be performed by all front-line gardai. Not only is it unprofessional from the perspective of the victim’s rights but it is unfair on the inexperienced garda who has no specialist training in this area.
We welcome the recommendations:
- that the Garda Siochana implement victim centred policy and
- good investigative practices in rape and other sexual offences
- and that dedicated officers need to be specially trained to undertake the initial investigation to include taking a victim’s statement, forensic retrieval, rape trauma and victim care as a first step.
At the DRCC we have provided input into the initial training of gardai in Templemore in the past and many gardai have done follow up training with the Education and Training Department of the DRCC. However this has not happened over the past number of years because of the cut to funding. Ad hoc training while it has its benefits is not good enough. There needs to be a policy commitment to specialist training particularly when it comes to sexual offences.
We now have very clear evidence of the necessity for specialist trained investigating officers in the area of sexual offences. We welcome Acting Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan’s promise of the establishment of Victims Services Offices in the regions and we look forward to supporting and informing the training that will be necessary for the gardai who will be operating these offices.
We also welcome Minister Fitzgerald’s promise to take steps ‘to improve the capacity of victim support organisations funded by her Department to provide advice and assistance to victims at all stages of the criminal process.’
As with all recommendations they are only valuable when they are implemented. These recommendations need to be supported and resourced so that they can be implemented otherwise this will be just another report that will gather dust on another shelf.”