An anonymous Garda has exposed the realities of working on the force
A former member of An Garda Síochána has taken to Boards.ie to reveal what life is really like serving as a police officer in Ireland.
He opens the post by clarifying that he has resigned from the position. He also states that he is conducting an AMA (Ask Me Anything) online to give people an understanding of guards.
“Just to clarify first, I am no longer a serving member, having resigned in the last few months for a number of reasons. I'm doing this AMA to hopefully give people a better understanding that members of AGS are just people too. And sorry to bold this, but: And this is all just my opinion, and does not represent the views of AGS as an organization.”
Other Boards users submitted questions.
The former guard revealed that the job was different to what he had expected.
“I had done under 10 years. It's already a very different job to when I joined, and the now retired members say that it's a shadow of what it formally was, for better and for worse. I honestly did not know what it was like. No one ever prepared me for the amount of paperwork. Stupidly, I thought it might have been something like on tv, investigating, catching the bad guys and sending them to jail. It's a lot more formal. The rules and law can be stifling, hindering and sometimes just doesn't work. No time to investigate but increased workloads are the issues here now. A simple straight forward burglary file can take months to fully investigate now because the time is no longer there.”
Opening up about corruption the former guard writes:
“There is corruption in every job in every walk of life. The deli worker stealing a sausage, painters doing nixxers for the friends, all these are very slight examples of corruption within those sectors. Is cancelling a ticket corruption? According to the media and a lot of the public, yes. But, I've never cancelled a ticket, because even before the whole ticket "scandal" no one below the rank of inspector could cancel them. So I've never witnessed the actual act of having tickets cancelled. I've known of a few, one I issued personally to a GAA star. But that's the most I've personally witnessed. I've heard the stories, but I've never been part of anything like that (the reasons for all the tribunals). I was based somewhere far away from all that, so again, this is my opinion, I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but I've not witnessed anything, thankfully.”
He then opens up about Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe who was shot in Bellurgan, County Louth in 2013. His death prompted debate about the need for our guards to be armed.
“No one ever expected something like what happened to D/Gda Donohue. I didn't know him personally, or even have heard of him prior to that incident. But it genuinely hit me hard. It's a strange feeling, one you only get in jobs like these where someone who does the same job as you, but whom you don't know, gets brutally murdered in the line of duty. You feel for him, his family, friends and colleagues like you don't for others. It sent the reality of the job to the forefront of my mind, and I shed some tears. The reality that it could have been me, as it was just so random and unexpected, it left a scar. It made me way more cautious, and I can understand why the American police are so trigger happy. If gun crime was a rife here, I'd definitely be cautious the whole time, knowing that this simple traffic stop could be the end."
"As for the arming. Historically, AGS is lauded for being an unarmed police force. According to some reports, we're the second best police force in the world, and this is mainly due to unarmed policing (Iceland getting the No. 1 spot). Changing this would radically change the force as a whole. I think we definitely need more armed Gardaí, but it can't come from the current workforce without them being replaced. I don't think we need more routinely armed Gardaí, but we definitely need more armed response.”
The poster also shares his views on drugs crimes and suggests we should follow our European counterparts and leagalise some drugs in order to save police time.
He also reveals that a major factor in his decision to leave the police force, was the inability of the judiciary system to secure a conviction.
“your job is to get them to court, you shouldn't care after that. But it hit home early in my career where we brought a convicted burglar to prison. Numerous convictions, mostly for burglary. We dropped him off at the prison, and made our way back to our own District, a few hours away. As we were driving back in, there's [the burglar] walking back from the train station. That hurt. All the effort of numerous Gardaí gone to waste because there's no room for "low risk" offenders who then get released on bail. It really put me off the job. But mainly it put me off when colleagues who had been assaulted get no outcome.”
Read the full exposé HERE.