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Garda College

Leadership, Management & Professional Development

3. Leadership, Management & Professional Development

Continuous Professional Development (CPD) has responsibility for developing, co-ordinating and facilitating Garda training on a national basis. CPD staff members develop core training programmes which are then delivered to all Garda personnel through Divisional CPD centres throughout the country.  

There are twenty-seven Continuous Professional Development centres nationwide. These centres have a dual function of providing continuous professional development for Gardaí and Sergeants to enable them to carry out their functions under Section 7 of the Garda Síochána Act 2006 and also providing training and continuous assessments for Probationer Gardaí as part of their BA (Applied Policing) programme.

CPD centres also provide other training interventions that meet the ongoing demand from a legislative and operational policing requirement. These mandatory training needs require personnel with Trainer/Policing Knowledge to deliver programmes of national importance to An Garda Síochána. CPD have provided training in Investigative Interviewing, DNA training, Schools programme, AFIS Fingerprint Training, Digital CAD training and a wide range of other programmes. They are now involved in the delivery of projects in conjunction with the Garda Modernisation and Renewal Programme in addition to the delivery of localised training activities as required in their Divisions.

The CPD Section in the Garda College has responsibility for coordinating the development of training programmes which are delivered throughout the country. The CPD Section, Garda College also provides/coordinates training programmes for members in the following:

    • CPD Core Programme (Train the Trainer)
    • Sex Offenders RM2K
    • Case Management of Juveniles
    • Evidential Breath Testing (EBT)
    • Out of Vehicle Safety Training (OVST)
    • Road Traffic Impairment Testing
    • Pre Retirement Planning for Members of AGS
    • Pre Retirement Planning for Civilian Staff
    • Garda Primary Schools Programme
    • Garda Secondary Schools Programme

The section is also responsible for the running of the annual internal professional promotion examinations (Sergeants and Inspectors) which are developed and managed in conjunction with the Academic Coordination Office at the Garda College. 

Garda College Library

The Garda College Library aims to provide academic support to all members of the Garda Organisation, and in particular those involved in education and training and those pursuing educational courses. Subject areas include Law, Criminology, Policing, Management, Psychology, Social Issues and Health. Other references include Dissertations and Theses completed by participants of the B.A in Police Studies, BSc in Police Leadership and other M.A. and P.H.D’s through other universities.  The Library also facilitates the purchasing of books for the organisation.

International Training and Academic Coordination

Academic Coordination

The International Training and Academic Coordination (ITAC) office coordinates a wide range of educational programmes which are undertaken by Garda Síochána staff each year. These include the administration and coordination of the BSc in Police Leadership and Governance which is accredited by University College Dublin and the Certificate in Civil Service and State Agencies which is provided in conjunction with the Institute of Public Administration and accredited by University College Dublin.

The BSc in Police Leadership and Governance programme is designed to focus on strategic management practices in An Garda Síochána. It addresses areas of Management Principles, Ethics, Effective Leadership, Innovation, Financial Principles, Managing Change, Strategy and Governance.

The Certificate in Civil Service and State Agencies covers the areas of Government Departments and Civil Service, Garda Oversight Agencies, Issues of Governance and Public Management, Central Political Agencies and AGC interagency workings with Health Sector and Legal Agencies.

International Training

International Training plays an important training role in An Garda Síochána as it maximizes cooperation and coordination on police training between member colleges. It facilitates the sharing of best practice & research thereby making best use of resources. The Garda College is responsible for coordinating CEPOL Training programmes. 

CEPOL is an agency of the European Union dedicated to develop, implement and coordinate training for law enforcement officials. From the 1st July 2016, the official name is “The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training”. CEPOL’s headquarters are located in Budapest, Hungary.

CEPOL brings together a network of training institutes for law enforcement officials in EU Member States and supports them in providing frontline training on security priorities, law enforcement cooperation and information exchange. CEPOL also works with EU bodies, international organisations, and third countries to ensure that the most serious security threats are tackled with a collective response. The agency’s annual work programme is built with input from this network and other stakeholders, resulting in topical and focused activities designed to meet the needs of Member States in the priority areas of the EU internal security strategy. CEPOL’s current portfolio encompasses residential activities, online learning (i.e. webinars, online modules, online courses, etc.), exchange programmes, common curricula, research and science.

The ITAC coordinates the attendance of Garda and Revenue Commissioner staff members on CEPOL Courses which range across international policing and cross-border crimes. These programmes provide opportunities to interact with other police and justice agencies and share international best practice on current policing issues.  The CEPOL Exchange Programme offers an “on the ground” immersion into the law enforcement practices of another EU Member State.  It enables participants to develop and strengthen their own professional networks. 

The Garda College organises language training programmes each year which aim to improve participants’ language skills for police in English, whilst learning about Ireland’s police system. It allows them to compare and contrast policing systems and increase knowledge of European police co-operation within the European context. 

Groups consist of approximately thirty police officers from various European countries.  The English language training is provided by language experts through University or similar.  Garda experts also provide presentations on areas such as the Irish Legal System, the History of An Garda Síochána, Community Relations, Organised Crime, Criminal Assets Bureau, Garda Training Systems, Interpol, Europol and CEPOL. This engagement provides an opportunity for Gardaí to network with their European counterparts.

Participants have also been provided with an opportunity to observe Garda Operations, which gives them a greater understanding of our policing systems and how we interact with the public. Groups also attend the Criminal Courts of Justice for a briefing on the justice system and observe various courts in session. 

Leadership and Management Development

The remit of the Leadership and Management Development (LMD) section is to develop, deliver and facilitate the leadership and development training for newly promoted personnel both sworn and non-sworn from Executive Officer (EO) to Executive Director and from Sergeant to Commissioner Rank.

The role of LMD is to bring together all strands of the development programme. This includes supporting the participant in making connections between the competencies as outlined for the role as he/she transitions into their new role. This is achieved by creating a partnership between the participants their manager, their mentor and the LMD section and is directly linked to achieving the corporate goals and plans of the organisation.

LMD have a responsibility to ensure that those supporting the participant’s development, in particular managers and mentors have the skills and tools necessary to meet requirements of their role. LMD staff are qualified in areas such as training and education; quality management; Supervisory and Leadership GRID®; MBTI psychometric tool; 16PF psychometric tool; Emotional Capital report (ECR); Executive Coaching; Mentoring; Assist Training and Competency based interviewing.

In 2016/17 LMD incorporated the development of Assistant Principal into the Senior Management Development Programmes. Higher Executive Officer development and Executive Officer development will be incorporated in future Inspectors and Sergeants programmes.

Senior Management Development

Senior Management Development consists of developing Chief Superintendents, Principal Officers, Superintendents and Assistant Principals.  The course prospectus for senior management supports one of the underpinning philosophies of the Training Review Report (2009) to achieve a commitment to lifelong learning within the organisation. This process not only refers to a requirement for the organisation to deliver training and development opportunities on an ongoing basis but also identifies the need for individuals to accept responsibility for their own learning and development.

The courses prospectus supports the business approach of LMD which has restructured these programmes continuously to create efficiencies in functions, and integration and consistency in line with changing organisational needs.

The Senior Officer Development Programmes incorporates a series of learning interventions to meet the specific personal and professional developmental needs of newly promoted personnel.

The programme builds on the existing levels of knowledge, skills and expertise of the participants and provides the scope for further development to meet the managerial responsibilities and challenges of managers in An Garda Síochána.

The current development programme is designed to create a learning environment to support each officer’s personal objectives, focused on:

• Competencies needed to perform within that rank.
• Self –awareness around their leadership behaviours.

In line with chapter 9 and 10 of An Garda Síochána Modernisation and Renewal Programme the Development programme provides internal Mentors.  This allows  an opportunity to reflect on their own experiences of past leadership and explore new and improved ways of leading Districts and Divisions by tapping into the shared capacity of the organisation and allow for a more critical inquiry and reflective thinking rather than reactive.
The programme is integrated around key operational and leadership interventions supported by 360º feedbacks and the exposure to external Executive Coaches. This allows a platform for constructive development in the executive field where assumptions and norms are explored, affirmed and challenged.

Throughout their leadership intervention participants are given the space to understand the impact of different leadership styles and awareness of their own leadership style.  This opens up the potential to take ownership for their own leadership and not follow convention or cultural norms but develop their own authentic leadership style.

Inspectors Development

The role of Inspector is one of middle manager with particular responsibility to manage and co-ordinate the operational delivery of policing services across teams and units. The Inspectors role also involves providing a quality assurance function for operations, investigations and activity evaluations, within guidelines generated by the wider strategic direction of the Divisional Officer.

Aims of Programme

    • Acquired and demonstrated theoretical and practical knowledge of management and leadership practices, pertinent to the rank of Inspector.
    • The ability to apply competence in a range of methods and procedures, fundamental to the rank of Inspector and effective leadership.
    • Acquired and demonstrated an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the structure and business of the Garda policing service relevant to the rank of Inspector.
    • The competence and confidence to provide a quality assurance function at the level of operations, investigation and activity evaluation.
    • Demonstrated a range of skills for motivating & developing their staff.

In line with chapter 9 and 10 of An Garda Síochána Modernisation and Renewal Programme the Development programme will provide internal Mentors of Superintendent rank to mentor Inspectors in their new role.

Sergeants Development

The programme will offer continuous professional and personal development and places the primary responsibility for learning with the individual Sergeant.  It will focus and explore key supervisory principles, processes, procedures and skills and link them directly to the reality and real life experiences in the rank of Sergeant. This format has been established to best secure the programme aims and objectives and will be operational focused. This programme is designed to:

    • Infuse a partnership approach which centres on the Sergeant who will be supported by the local District Officer, Leadership Management development , Coaching Sergeant and Mentor.
    • Ensure that all learning is linked to the competencies necessary for the role of the Sergeant.
    • Ensure that learning from the training environment is transferred to the workplace more effectively by designing operational activities for completion which are relevant to the role and duties of Sergeants. This will be evaluated by their District Officer.
    • Achieve consistency across the Sergeants Development Programme by putting structured processes in place to support the Sergeants Development.

The aim’s of the Sergeants Programme

    • Acquired and demonstrated an in-depth theoretical and practical knowledge of management and leadership practices, pertinent to the Sergeant rank, in accordance with the standards, principles and values of the Garda organisation.
    • The ability to demonstrate competence in a range of methods and procedures, fundamental to supervisory management practice and effective leadership in an operational policing environment. 
    • Acquired and demonstrated an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the structure and operation of the delivery of the Garda policing service. 
    • The competence and confidence to be a supervisory manager and team leader within a diverse policing environment that meets public need.
    • Demonstrate a range of supervisory management skills and techniques for analysis, problem solving and decision making.

In line with chapter 9 and 10 of An Garda Síochána Modernisation and Renewal Programme the Development programme will provide internal Mentors of Inspector rank to mentor Sergeants in their new role.

Mentoring Programmes

Mentoring is ‘Off-line help by one person to another in making significant transitions in knowledge work or thinking’ (Clutterbuck 1990)

Pivotal to the development of individuals as they progress into supervision, leadership and management areas is to create an environment that’s supports and challenges them in their development. In line with chapter 10 of the Modernisation and Renewal Programme LMD have integrated mentoring into all their Programmes.

Each participant on our programmes is nominated a mentor. LMD provides training for these mentors and LMD also facilitates the first meeting between the parties.

The objectives are:

    • To build a culture of active people development.
    • To assist in career development of participants 
    • To support the implementation of Personal Development Plans of the participants. 
    • To help increase self-awareness around strengths and development areas.
    • To facilitate Sergeants in overcoming gaps in skill areas
    • To act as a sounding board.

Well-being/Mental Health

As part of leadership and Management training workshops are incorporated on personal development. Members of AGS face the emotions of the world and the people in it on a daily basis. The officer who has emotional resilience survives and thrives in the job of policing. It is not what happens to you as a police officer but how you react to it that will determine your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. Participants discuss how to manage their moods and emotions, which is a fundamental key to sustaining resilience.

Competency Based Interviewing

The training course is of 2 days duration and uses a blended learning approach of facilitator led presentation and participants interview role playing.

The programme includes:

    • Course Objectives/Overview
    • Current Research in Interviewing
    • Core Skills of Interviewing
    • Conducting a Competency-based interview
    • Practical - interview role play
    • Review of Interview
    • Candidate Evaluation 
    • Equal Opportunities 
    • Course Summary

The training intervention is designed to comply with An Garda Síochána Guidelines for Internal Appointments and Promotions and the Code of Practice published by the Civil Service and Public Service Appointments (CPSA).

It complies with the five key principles of:

    • Probity
    • Appointments made on merit
    • An appointment process made in line with best practice
    • A fair appointments process applied with consistency
    • Appointments made in an open, accountable and transparent manner

Only when interviewers have successfully completed the course are they considered for selection boards. Newly promoted Inspectors undergo this training as part of their development programme and it is targeted at ranks and grades as the need arises.