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Wednesday 30 July 2014

Only qualified gardai can speed or use siren from next week

Conor Feehan

Published 23/06/2014|11:26

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Only specially qualified gardai can speed from next week
Only specially qualified gardai can speed from next week

Gardai will not be able to use sirens and flashing lights, or exceed the speed limit, from July 1 unless they have completed a special driving course.

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The move will severely curtail emergency response times and be a massive advantage to criminals according to rank and file crime fighters who are disgusted at the red tape being put in their way.

Gardai have traditionally had the ‘chiefs permission’ to use lights, sirens and speed to pursue criminals or get to crime scenes quickly, but this system is to be abolished at the end of this month.

“You couldn’t make it up. Gardai who have not completed this driving course face getting penalty points and prosecutions if the exceed the speed limit,” one source told the Herald.

Groups representing gardai say there has been a slow roll-out of the new driving course so the restriction will have a massive impact on day-to-day operations in the force until more gardai are trained.

A letter issued to gardai from the Garda Representatives Association (GRA) has said from July 1 ‘Chiefs Permission’ will no you longer be issued.

A number of members have attended a CPD1 driving course but still cannot use exceed the speed limit or use lights and sirens until they have done the full CPD2 training course.

“Members who have done the CPD1 course are not to drive with lights and sirens on or break any rules of the road!! This means that you will not be able to respond to calls as quickly as others,” said the GRA letter.

The letter tells gardai to inform command and control if they are a CPD1 driver when logging on, and when they encounter a situation where they are unable to chase a person or a vehicle to make command and control aware they are not in a position to react or give chase.

“So few people actually have the car course done that a huge percentage of Gardai driving cars will be driving under these circumstances,” said one source.

“So in situations like a robbery or someone being assaulted, the gardai are being prevented from getting there asap due to these restrictions. It’s pure nonsense,” they added.

The GRA letter also tells gardai who are asked to transfer violent prisoners to request that a vehicle being driven by a CPD2 driver is called for.

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