THE lack of a suitable premises is being blamed for the fact that West Cork was not named last week as one of the country’s new sexual crime units – despite it having been promised for 2017.
Six specialised garda units, designed to deal with sexual crime, child and domestic abuse went into operation last week, but the unit promised for the Cork West Division has still not progressed any further, due to problems securing suitable accommodation.
Soon after his appointment in 2017, Chief Supt Con Cadogan told The Southern Star that the unit would be ‘up and running’ by the end of that year. It was planned that the ‘Divisional Protective Services Unit’ (DPSU) would be a first for the Division and would become a centre of excellence dealing with specialised crime types – including sexual crime, human trafficking, child abuse and domestic abuse.
Speaking recently to The Southern Star, Chief Supt Con Cadogan said that in light of the new Domestic Violence Act coming into law at the start of January it’s now more important than ever. The Act has created a new offence of ‘coercive control’ which offers protection to victims.
‘The issue with the establishment of a DPSU is all down to finding suitable accommodation and we have been in negotiations with the OPW to source a suitable premises in Bandon,’ said Chief Supt Cadogan.
‘It’s an ongoing issue and it’s a priority on my list, but the sourcing of a suitable property is outside my control. We are working very hard and hopefully over the next two to three weeks we will have progress.’
There are now 10 DPSUs nationwide, following the addition of units last week in six garda divisions.
Last November, Chief Supt Barry McPolin told the Cork County Joint Policing Committee that incidents of rape in the city had increased steadily over the previous two years.
An OPW spokesperson said that following a review of State-owned properties and a trawl of the property market, the OPW and An Garda Síochána visited a number of sites ‘under consideration’.