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Probationer training prioritised as recruits move to front line earlier

Officers fast tracked through the system as criminal records checks sped up to allow volunteers to start
Published - 20/03/2020 By - Gary Mason

Forces are prioritising probationer training in order to fast track new recruits through the system and provide support for front line resources.

In Ireland more than 300 new Garda officers will move to the front line at an earlier point in their training than they would have anticipated due to the current "unprecedented" circumstances, justice minister Charlie Flanagan said.

The trainees will bring the Garda's numbers to its highest level of almost 15,000.

"The 319 new gardai will be deployed to Garda stations nationally in the coming weeks, where their presence will maximise the operational availability of An Garda Siochana and its ability to support other vital services in response to Covid-19,” he said.

At Friday's attestation ceremony in Templemore, Co Tipperary, Mr Flanagan will also commend the 124 members who are redeploying from their duties in the policing college to front-line policing.

The ceremony will be brief and will observe social distancing protocols.

There will be short speeches by the minister and the Garda Commissioner, but unlike normal ceremonies, no families will attend.

Mr Flanagan will say: "Your experienced colleagues and supervisors will be on hand to guide you.”

Police Scotland has "temporarily suspended non-essential training" from today but probationer, public order and first aid training is scheduled to continue.

Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said: "We have temporarily suspended non-essential training so that we can support local communities.

"The training of probationary constables and other essential training will continue."

The criminal records checking scheme has said it expects a spike of around 750,000 applications will be made for checks of volunteers due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) accesses data held on force databases to help organisations make recruitment decisions.

It is widely used in the public, private and voluntary sector, such as schools and care homes, to check prospective staff and volunteers.

The new volunteer groups are offering support, such as food shopping, childcare, teaching and running errands for people who have been forced into self isolation for four months.

Eric Robinson, chief executive of the DBS, said measures have been taken to ensure applications for volunteers would be "prioritised".

He added: "For those who are assisting in responding to this national emergency, we are making sure, where possible, checks are carried out within 24 hours and also checking the barred lists to make sure applicants are not already barred from working in regulated activity.

The DBS is understood to have "as many staff as possible" working to complete the checks within 24 hours and will continue working as normal over the next few months.

Staff from other areas of the business have also been redeployed to help with the increase in demand.

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