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No 'blue wall' within force - senior garda

A SENIOR garda said she hopes there is no "blue wall" within the force where officers remain silent rather than report colleague's behaviour.

Chief Supt Anne-Marie McMahon said a more open culture is being developed within the force to encourage members to be accountable for their actions.

The aim of reforms of garda training is to end public perceptions of "group think" in the force and promote individual responses to problem solving.

Responding to criticism of garda culture in the past, Chief Supt McMahon said the change was aimed at producing gardai who were appropriate for the policing needs of today.

But she pointed out that the changes stemmed from a review of training report, which was carried out in 2008, rather than a reaction to recent criticism.

She said she would like to think there would be no "blue wall", a term used to describe an unofficial code where gardai remained silent rather than report colleagues' behaviour.

The focus of the revised two-year training programme for the first batch of recruits in five years will be on individual responses to scenarios rather than rote learning in classrooms.

A ban on recruitment in the public service has meant that the batch of 100, who will join as students at the Garda College in Templemore, Co Tipperary, on Monday week, will be the first to arrive there since May 2009.

The recruits will spend an initial 34-week phase at the college before they are attested as probationers and assigned to stations for on-the-job training.

Chief Supt McMahon said she was proud of the new programme, which had been developed with the University of Limerick.