The first Garda recruits on the new BA in Applied Policing, accredited by the University of Limerick, have recently been attested with full Garda powers. The attestation and passing out parade took place on Thursday the 23rd April 2015 at the Garda College, Templemore, Co. Tipperary, attended by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, T.D. and Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan.
This group are the first cohort to be attested since 2009 and the first to undertake the new BA in Applied Policing. The level of engagement between An Garda Síochána and the University of Limerick in accrediting the programme is novel, though it is very much in keeping with national strategy for higher education which calls on universities to engage more widely with business, industry, training colleges and communities.
In essence, it has allowed a ‘community of scholars’ and a ‘community of practice’ to pool resources so as to scaffold the core competencies and core functions of policing (as identified by the gardaí) in an innovative curriculum design which is supported by strict academic regulations.
In accrediting the programme with the University of Limerick, the gardaí have opened the training programme up to continuous scrutiny from the governance structure of the university including accreditation visits, examination boards, quality assurance boards and reviews by external examiners. A governance structure of this kind demands constant and meaningful dialectical engagement between the university and the training college on issues such as fairness of procedures, academic integrity, and the extent to which learning outcomes for the programme are being achieved.
The gardaí are given the responsibility by the State of protecting the rights of citizens and enforcing the law of the country. Their functions and competencies should be based on democratic values that seeks to ensure fair and impartial treatment for all of its citizens and the new training embeds human rights and ethical policing as a core programme outcome. It ensures that ethics, human rights and community are considered in the management of all policing situations, and it seeks to provide a continuity of learning around these issues from problem based learning in the Garda College to work based learning in the Garda divisions.
This new programme represents another layer in what has been a long history of police training in Ireland. It is supported by a very high standard of recruit; almost 24,000 candidates applied for the first 100 places. The clear ambition and vision is that Ireland can be pioneering again in respect of its police training.
Picture includes Seamus Hoyne, Garda Commissioner Noirin O Sullivan,Chief Superintendent Anne Marie McMahon,Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald, Dr Eimear Spain- School of Law UL