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Mid-ranking gardaí were not trained on domestic violence law before it came in

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Garda Commissioner Drew Harris. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA

Mid-ranking gardaí have gotten no formal training on enforcing the new domestic violence legislation that came into effect last week.

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) said the Domestic Violence Act 2018 came into force on January 2, yet none of their more than 2,000 members has been given any formal training on the legislation.

It has now called on Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to prioritise training in this area "as a matter of urgency".

"Victims of domestic violence deserve the best protection and support possible," said the AGSI following a meeting last night.

"Appropriate training delivered in advance of legislation being implemented will ensure the public receive the best possible policing service."

Meanwhile, chairperson of the Policing Authority Josephine Feehily said it will be looking further at the issue of domestic violence this year.

"There's a new piece of law now which raises that bar, introduces the notions of coercive control into domestic situations," Ms Feehily said.

"So we wanted to be sure that the guards were thinking about that, and this is something that we will certainly have to have a look at in the course of our work in 2019."

The authority yesterday published its review of 2018 which highlighted the breadth of work undertaken last year.

Speaking on Pat Kenny's Newstalk programme, Ms Feehily said that one of the issues that preoccupied the authority's time was data quality.

"People tend to think of data quality as boring old numbers and it's just about counting," she said.

"Well, it isn't just about counting, because if a crime isn't properly classified, a real concern is that there won't be a thorough investigation."

Irish Independent