Police officer/An Garda Síochána

Modern policing entails much more than crime fighting. Reducing the fear of crime and working in partnership with communities are the keys to making a positive difference and improving quality of life for all citizens.

Members of An Garda Síochána operate on the front line, supporting victims and witnesses, providing reassurance and instilling confidence. Reserve Gardaí are volunteer members within An Garda Síochána who provide support to full-time members and help to strengthen links between the force and local communities throughout the country.

Job description

Work activities

  • Attending road traffic collisions
  • Responding to calls from the public
  • Dealing with victims of crime
  • Responding to serious public disorder incidents
  • Arresting offenders
  • Completing related paperwork.

Work conditions

Travel: a regular feature of the working day at lower grades.
Working hours: regular unsocial hours including weekends and evenings.
Location: mainly in towns or cities throughout the country.
Opportunities for self-employment: not possible.

Typical employers

Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform
Police Service Northern Ireland

Career development

An Garda Síochána: After three years on normal uniformed policing duties, members of the force can apply for vacancies in specialist areas. These include a wide variety of fields including community policing, traffic control and regulation, public order, detective duties, investigating organised crime, fraud and drugs offences.

The Irish police force has a clearly defined rank structure:

  • Garda
  • Sergeant
  • Inspector
  • Superintendent
  • Chief Superintendent
  • Assistant Commissioner
  • Deputy Commissioner
  • Commissioner.

Entry requirements and training

Entry requirements

An Garda Síochána: Minimum entry requirements is Leaving Certificate with specified minimum grades in Mathematics and in two languages one of which must be either English or Irish.

The criteria for appointment as a Reserve member, in respect of character, educational qualifications,nationality and residence, will be broadly the same as for a permanent member of An Garda Síochána.

Specific degree subjects required

Open to non graduates and graduates of all disciplines.

Other relevant degree subjects

  • Law
  • Psychology
  • Social science
  • Social work

Specific entry requirements

An Garda Síochána: Citizenship or residency requirements must also be met. Applicants to join either the Reserve or the permanent force will be vetted.

Candidates must be between 18 and 35 years of age and must pass an exacting medical exam. Candidates must be of good mental and bodily health and free from any defect or abnormality likely to interfere with the efficient performance of their duties. The requirement to be of a specific height has been removed and replaced with a physical competency test.

Training

An Garda Síochána: Basic training is divided into five phases and lasts two years. Initially, students spend 22 weeks at the Garda College in Templemore followed by a period of 24 weeks at selected stations under the direct supervision of tutorial staff. After further training at the College, students become members of the Service and are attached to stations. While they are now empowered to enforce legislation, they remain under probation for a further two year period.

Reserve members receive more than 120 hours initial training.

Tips for applications

Be physically fit. Membership of organisations such as Civil Defence could be useful. Garda Interview Boards are required to take into account the experience gained by candidates who have worked with the Garda Reserve.

Skills and qualities

  • Good communication skills
  • Unfailingly honest, with a mature attitude and a high level of social awareness
  • Observant
  • Decisive, able to remain calm in threatening situations, yet capable of reacting quickly and taking action on your own initiative.
  • Willing to accept discipline and ability to work in a team.