Thinking of moving to Ireland?
And you think joining the Garda might be a good idea?
And you think you’re in great physical shape?
Consider this: before any candidate can be included in the final group of applicants, he/she must pass a test for physical endurance, known as The Physical Competence Test, in addition to the Shuttle Test. As I mentioned in the previous article, “An Garda Siochana, the Irish National Police,” there were recently over 60,000 applicants, so competition is tough. To give you an idea of the requirements, the Garda website provides this chart for the Shuttle (also called Beep test) so that you can compare your capabilities to the expected norms:
MINIMUM Standards for the Shuttle Test (running back and forth in a gym – 20 meters (about 65 feet) in each direction – the levels indicating how many round trips you should make within a set time)
|18-25yrs||Level 8.8||Level 7.6|
|26-35yrs||Level 8.1||Level 6.6|
MINIMUM Standards for the ‘Sit Up’ Test (one minute)
MINIMUM Standards for the ‘Push Up’ Test (no time restriction)
Physical Competence Tests –
This part of the physical test demonstrates whether the candidate is capable of chasing after a suspect, and then, once the suspect is caught, struggle with him/her in order to make the arrest. Because, trust me, if you can’t do this part of the test, you won’t make it as a street cop.
Part 1 – the Obstacle Course
You have three minutes and 20 seconds to get around the course three times. Go!
After a running start,
Slower than 3:20? You fail.
Part 2 – the Push-Pull Machine Test
What’s the maximum force you can muster? This test indicates how strong you are when you’re battling against a suspect who doesn’t want to be caught – after you’ve chased him/her for several minutes through the alleys.
A video detailing the Physical Competence Test can be found here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXo3roYoCUw&feature=youtu.be
Get past this pre-screening stage and there are a number of tests to eliminate the possibility of the unqualified becoming a Garda Trainee. If you pass each of the interviews, psych evaluations, personality questionnaire, language proficiency assessment, report writing tasks, written tests, medical exam, and physical tests, (and anything else the powers-that-be deem necessary) and rank high enough on the list of qualified applicants, you might become a Garda trainee. If so, you would attend the Garda college to complete the first 34 weeks of your training. After that, you will have both supervised and unsupervised field training, with periodic rigorous testing along the way. It will take about two years to finish, but at the end, you will attain a BA in Applied Policing.
The Garda College is the national center for police training, development and education within the Irish State. The coursework is divided into two major sections, Operational Training and Crime Training.
Operational Training consists partly of:
Candidates learn to drive the official vehicles and based on operation needs, may also learn to drive vans, 4×4 vehicles, motorcycles, and H.G.V.s
After initial firearms training, if hired, the candidates permitted to carry firearms must take refresher firearms training three times a year. They are checked for Range Safety, Weapon Safety and accuracy. They also receive tactical training, as well as how to use non-lethal weapons such a tasers.
Constitutional, Human Rights & Diversity Office
Candidates become familiar with the proper way to handle incidents that may involve human rights, diversity as well as any possible constitutional violations.
Communications and Information Technology Training
A.F.I.S. (Automated Fingerprint Identification System)
A.V.P.L.S. Automatic Vehicle Personnel Location System)
C.A.D. (Computer Aided Dispatch)
I.C.C.S. (Integrated Communications Control System)
MOS computer Program skills
Rannóg na Gaeilge
If needed, candidates learn and become proficient in the Irish language.
Crime Training consists of:
Students learn in small groups with realistic policing re-enactments and must use the group discussions to solve the problems, just as would be done in actual policing.
During this basic training, candidates would:
Develop skills needed for traffic issues (checkpoints, drink/drug driving etc.)
Crime Training used to be known as the Detective Training School. These days it incorporates the Garda Technical Bureau, the Forensic Science Laboratory, and even some outside agencies. Also studied: Basic Fire and Arson, Money Laundering, Financial Crime, and Drug Awareness.
Additional course work or refresher courses are available for the police after they have served in the field for three years (or if the local station has a need for it) in: Fingerprints, Photography, Forensics, Ballistics, Documents, Mapping, and Forensic Law.
Special Investigative Training is handled here for Family Liaison Officers as well as for the Road Security Criminal Interdiction Awareness Program.
The Garda Síochana Interview Model has four different levels, ranging from basic questions of witnesses, to serious and complex investigations, including those involving sex crimes.
After a fairly rigorous combination of classwork, supervised and unsupervised field work, along with continuous testing during the two years, graduating candidates are able to work in Community Policing, Traffic Control, Public Order, Detective Duties, investigating Organized Crime, Fraud and Drugs Offenses.
“Crime prevention is everybody’s business,” a quote from the Garda site, is a motto they promote to all the candidates, as well as the community at large.
How does this training compare with that of your local law enforcement agency?
*All photos from www.garda.ie
An Garda Síochána
Ever wonder what it would be like to be an Irish cop? Not a cop of Irish heritage living in the USA, but a cop who lives and works in Ireland. Is the job more glamorous or grittier than the U.S. version? Take a look at some of the aspects of the job as well as the requirements for becoming a candidate for the two-year training program for the Garda.
An Garda Síochána is the national police service of Ireland. Back in the 1920s, Ireland had just become a free state and needed a strong national police force. Almost 100 years later, it has over 14,000 members, has offices in every county, and is now considered to be a community based law enforcement agency.
A Commissioner heads the agency, assisted by Deputy and Assistant Commissioners. Ireland is divided into six geographical regions for the Garda’s purposes, with 28 divisions, each headed by a Chief Superintendent. Superintendents oversee the 96 districts scattered throughout the divisions. Inspectors and Sergeants conduct investigations, with the help of the Garda trainees and civilian employees.
A statement on the Garda website reveals current philosophy: “Modern policing entails much more than crime fighting. Reducing the fear of crime and working in partnership with communities are the keys to making a positive difference and improving quality of life for all citizens.”
‘Reducing the fear of crime’ is a terrific goal and one that many hope is reflected in the Garda’s daily community interactions. Very little is worse for a civilian than being afraid to leave one’s house because of terrorism, or of local hooligans taking over the streets. We, as citizens, want to feel safe in our own homes and neighborhoods, wherever we live in the world. Bravo to the Garda and the community for making that a stated objective as they work to reduce crime, both locally and across Ireland.
What else does the Garda do?
In 2016, over 200 million Euros was earmarked to provide upgrades to the Garda training and equipment. That investment was made so that they could “attract, develop and retain the best people.” It’s a tough world we live in, and we all need hi-tech support and well-trained personnel to catch the bad guys and help the community.
Cyber crime is here to stay and the Garda is working to create groups throughout the country that can address the issues involved, with specially trained officers at work.
Drugs, organized crime, sex crimes, human trafficking – all require a different type of scrutiny, investigation, and partnerships with other agencies and departments than ever before. Intensive training in these areas is supplied during Garda college.
An effort to address the problems of the victims is reflected as well in the establishment of Victim Service Offices.
Crime prevention and detection is foremost in every law enforcement agency, but the Garda also works to improve road safety, reduce local “anti-social behavior,” and maintain Irish national security. Part of their strategy is to be more visible in the communities they serve.
They might also:
What does the vetting process entail?
The initial application is filed online by most applicants and eligibility requirements must be met before moving to the next level of screening.
Sounds reasonable, although I would have trouble with the two-language requirement. I just don’t have the ear for languages, but I do know that it helps to have that second language in many parts of the U.S.
The candidates must also demonstrate good character, be certified that they are healthy, of sound mind, and be physically fit to do the job. With the many thousands of candidates, competition is fierce and only the top applicants will move on for the interviews and other assessments.
What’s the pay scale?
The yearly pay for a rookie cop is close to 24,000 Euros, with an additional 4,600 Euros for housing. On March 7, 2017, the rate of exchange was 1 Euro=1.06 U.S. dollar. The Garda candidates have no choice of assignment, so the housing allowance is an incentive to get qualified applicants to apply even if the assignment might be to an expensive big city. The Commissioner has the right to place the successful candidates anywhere within Ireland.
On this side of the pond, law enforcement pay scales might not be broken down so visibly, but we know that the bigger cities offer more money to their officers to adjust for the steeper cost of living. After 20 years of service, members of the Garda can make 50,000 Euros, which includes the same housing allowance. There is a possibility for overtime in some areas, but as everywhere else in the world, sleepy little villages never seem to have as much crime as the big cities.
Physical Competency Test for pre-entry testing plus information about the training program itself.
*Photo credits and quotes: www.garda.ie
Visit them for more information about An Garda Siochana.
Sheila and I have been watching an Australian murder/mystery series that recently included poison as a method of getting rid of one of the characters. An interesting case that hinged on who had access to the poison in question.
Mystery writers quite often use poison as a way to dispatch the victims in their books. Famed Agatha Christie used poison in several of her 66 novels, on 30 victims. Christie’s choices were based on what she needed to happen in the plot; did the poison have to be fast-acting or was it important to give the killer time to get away?
In “What poisons were in Agatha Christie’s books?” I listed a few of her favorite dastardly tools of death, but one of the critical aspects of choosing the correct one was its availability to the murderer. 🙂
Arsenic, belladonna, cyanide, etc. may be handy for a pharmacist or a chemist or a doctor, as in the Australian show, but what about the ordinary gal (poison is traditionally a woman’s choice) who wants to do somebody in? It’s not as if a housewife would normally have access to cyanide. Some medications would make you woozy or extremely nauseous if you overdosed, but over-the-counter meds are rarely going to kill someone unless a bucketful is consumed – unless an allergy is involved. There are some exceptions to that, but most will not do the job without some devious planning and execution.
So, what is a revenge-focused lay person to do? Assuming of course, that the fictional person is motivated, would have the guts to actually kill someone, and is not squeamish about the cleanup. Dead bodies are messy and hard to drag around.
We all have cleaning supplies readily available in the house or garage, so let’s take a look.
Bleach This is a fairly common household item used to remove stains from clothing or to kill surface bacteria. It’s well-known to be powerful as a cleaning agent and once upon a time, I poured too much into the machine when I was helping Sheila with the white wash. The shirts basically disintegrated and the ones that didn’t, smelled of bleach forever after. It would be impossible to get this smell past a victim’s nose, so it couldn’t be used in any subtle way.
Ammonia is often used to clean windows and is contained in many popular products in a diluted form. The ammonia smell is distinctive and too strong to be pleasant without perfume additives. Used straight out of the ammonia vat? It would burn the skin off your hands while you pass out from the fumes.
Remember, our housewife wants to get away with murder, not die while she’s carrying out the dastardly deed.
BUT, when these two cleaners (even diluted in the pleasantly scented store products) are mixed together they produce a lethal chlorine gas. If the products have been poured into non-descript spray bottles, the scenario might be to ‘accidentally’ mix up the labels and get the potential victim to help with cleaning after a messy spill in a closed space while the housewife leaves the room. The trick would be to switch the labels back before the cops arrive. Variations of this smelly method might involve cleaning a toilet with one of the clear liquids already in the toilet. After adding the other liquid, the noxious gas would suddenly waft upward toward the victim’s face.
Hydrogen peroxide is used as an anti-bacterial agent and some people even use it when gargling or for cleaning small cuts or abrasions.
White vinegar is used in cooking and in many restaurants as a gentle, yet effective, solution for shining the stainless steel.
BUT, when hydrogen peroxide and vinegar are mixed together, they create an acid, which can be quite harmful to the lungs. Harmful, but not necessarily deadly in small quantities.
Dishwasher detergents contain chlorine in highly concentrated amounts, but it’s hard to imagine how you could get an adult to ingest detergent willingly. Perhaps mixed in food? I wonder if it would foam while cooking…
Air Fresheners – Most air fresheners include formaldehyde which interferes with your ability to smell and phenol which can cause convulsions, coma, and even death in high enough concentrations and quantities. However, this amount would also kill our housewife while she worked with it.
Oven Cleaner contains lye (sodium hydroxide). A little bit of lye is used in old-fashioned soap compounds; too much of the stuff can dissolve skin off the bone.
Our housewife might just be better off to find out what food her victim is allergic to, then mix that with a tasty treat to be served at the next get-together. The invitation could read:
“Tea at 4pm. Body Doggie bags will be provided.”
The next time you look at the warning labels on the cleaning products, keep these real-life guidelines in mind:
DANGER: can be fatal if swallowed. Less than a teaspoon could kill a 150-pound adult.
WARNING: is harmful if swallowed, and drinking less than an ounce could kill an average sized adult.
CAUTION: is harmful if swallowed, and it would take anywhere from an ounce to a pint to kill an average adult.
*Please note: this article is posted for entertainment purposes only.