THE opening of a specialised garda unit designed to deal with sexual crime, child and domestic abuse, to serve the West Cork Division, has been delayed due to difficulties in finding a suitable premises in Bandon.
Called a Protective Services Unit (PSU), it would be the first for this area and the plan was to have it open by the last quarter of this year, but this deadline has been revised.
The PSU would become a centre of excellence dealing with specialised crime types including sexual crime, human trafficking, child abuse and domestic abuse in the Cork West Garda Division but according to Chief Supt Con Cadogan they are dependent on the OPW to find a premises. ‘We had hoped to have it up and running before the end of the year, but unfortunately the OPW has been unable to find a suitable premises and there also may be funding issues,’ said Chief Supt Cadogan.
‘I’m ready to select the team for this unit but we are still waiting for a premises. But we are confident we can achieve this in the first quarter of 2019.’
Chief Supt Cadogan said that local TDs have raised the issue about the delay.
An OPW spokesperson told The Southern Star that they are liaising with An Garda Siochána (AGS) to source a property solution to accommodate their requirements and have carried out a review of both existing State-owned properties in the area and a trawl of the wider local property market.
‘OPW & garda representatives have visited those sites under active consideration and the OPW are now finalising a Property Assessment Report, which identifies the options available. This will issue to An Garda Síochána for their consideration shortly.’
The issue was also raised at a meeting at the Divisional HQ in Bandon last week, attended by stakeholders from across West Cork to discuss the Divisional Policing Plan for next year.
‘It’s very important to get their views on what they want or what they dislike and we then takes notes from this before forming the Divisional Policing Plan for 2019. We would also like to thank those who attended this event and gave us such good feedback,’ said Chief Supt Cadogan.
Those in attendance were made up of representatives from local businesses, schools and community alert groups that included Muintir na Tíre, IFA and West Cork Women Against Violence.
‘A presentation was given by Insp Brian Murphy and Christian Wolf from the Garda Analysis Services. We then broke up into three groups to come up with ideas and suggestions on how we can serve the community to the highest possible standard.