Portlaoise Garda Station is the Laois Offaly Kildare Divisional HQ
A special garda unit tasked with investigating sexual crime, human trafficking, child abuse and domestic abuse has just gone fully operational in Laois, Offaly and Kildare this September.
Garda HQ confirmed this week that Divisional Protective Services Unit (DPSU) for the three counties commenced operations on Monday, September 21.
When the first units were set up in 2017, Gardaí said there would be up to 15 personnel attached to each of the units. This includes an Inspector, two Detective Sergeants, 10 detective Gardai and two administrative staff, with a small number being allocated on a phased basis.
The Gardaí say the personnel assigned to DPSUs have received "bespoke" training in the investigation of sexual crime, child protection, investigation of domestic abuse, online child exploitation and sex offender management.
"The DPSUs, which are a major commitment in An Garda Síochána’s Modernisation and Renewal Programme, will deliver a consistent and professional approach to the investigation of specialised crime types, including sexual crime, human trafficking, child abuse and domestic abuse," said the Gardaí when the first units were set up. "DPSUs will also focus on the provision of support for vulnerable victims of crime, including enhanced collaboration with the Child and Family Agency to safeguard children".
Gardaí say DPSUs also focus on the provision of support for vulnerable victims of crime, including enhanced collaboration with the Child and Family Agency to safeguard children.
The Laois, Offaly Kildare unit was one of the last to be established. There is now a DPSU in operation within every Garda division. Approximately 320 personnel are assigned to teams around Ireland.
The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre and the National Women's Council of Ireland welcomed the setting up of the units in 2017.
Laois Offaly TD Charlie Flanagan said the new unit would ensure the county has a consistent and professional approach to the investigation of sexual and domestic crime.
“I welcome the confirmation by that the unit in Laois/Offaly was established on September 21st. This is a matter that I had been working on earlier this year in my previous role of Minister for Justice & Equality and I am glad matters have progressed.”
“The dedicated nature of these units means quick access to a sensitively trained and highly informed group of Gardai for victims of domestic and sexual violence.
“The establishment of these units are central to the Government’s efforts to tackle the scourge of Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence.
“Worryingly during the lockdown period, there has been a sharp rise in reported incidents of domestic violence as women and their partners remain at home more and we need to ensure that everything is done to prevent this abuse.
“That is why Divisional Protective Services Units are so crucial in support of victims coming forward at a most distressing and vulnerable time in their lives
“The establishment of DPSUs will deliver a consistent and professional approach to the investigation of specialised crime types, including sexual crime, child abuse and domestic abuse," he said.
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