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Frontline fear Fears for young gardai amid increasing violence against officers

"There are also gardai working the frontline who have not completed their training"

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Garda (Stock image)

Garda (Stock image)

Garda (Stock image)

The new president of Garda Representative Association has expressed concern for the safety of young gardai amid increasing violence against officers.  

Frank Thornton was elected president of the GRA at the group’s first remotely-held Annual Delegate Conference today.

Mr Thornton said that younger gardaí have significant training and supervision needs.

“About a third of frontline gardaí have been recruited in the past six years and are still relatively inexperienced. There are also gardai working the frontline who have not completed their training.

“We are seeing increasing violence against gardai and all-time high levels of weapons seizures. More experienced gardai can sometimes identify threats that perhaps, younger members may not see making them vulnerable to serious injury.”

He said there were also concerns about the mental health effects of the job.

“A Garda survey last month showed many members believe there is a stigma attached to seeking mental and emotional support.

“This is very worrying especially considering that gardaí sometimes witness gruesome and distressing scenes that can be traumatic.

"Identifying the threat and preparing yourself is something that comes with experience, so again newer recruits may be more at-risk.

“This aspect of the dangers of policing is often overlooked, so during my presidency I will be emphasising the need for suitable deployment and supervision of inexperienced members and for the continued improvement to support services.”

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