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No timetable for introduction of drug testing for gardaí

Drug testing for members of An Garda Síochána has still not been introduced more than two and a half years after they were first announced in June 2021.

The Policing Authority has been told that there is no firm timetable in place for the introduction of drug testing for gardaí and civilian staff.

Assistant Garda Commissioner John Roberts said they are still waiting on regulations to introduce drug testing and they continue to prepare for those regulations which remain under the development of policy and procedure.

He also told the authority that the conduct of members of gardaí has improved and that there has been a 40% reduction in the number of suspensions last year when compared to 2022 and no new suspensions this year.

The assistant commisioner said the percentage of discipline files had reduced by 36% reduction over the past four years (In 2023 when compared to 2020).

Some 99 gardaí are currently on suspension.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said that suspension was very carefully considered at local level and in Garda Headquarters and was regarded as “a very serious and grave step”.

He said the recent pattern of suspension was for alleged actions taken while gardaí were off duty, including in relation to allegations of domestic abuse, assault, coercive control, serious sexual assault, driving under the influence and related offences such as a road traffic collision, or the garda’s behaviour towards the investigating garda.

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