Gardaí are investigation 100 sexual crimes in West Cork each year and a specialist unit to deal with such incidents is likely to be up and running in the Division by Christmas.
Chief Superintendent Con Cadogan revealed the long-awaited unit would be available to the public in the coming months following a question from West Cork TD Aindrias Moynihan at the County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting.
Mr Moynihan asked Chief Superintendent Cadogan for the latest news of the development of the unit. The West Cork Chief Superintendent said interviews were ongoing for the positions of two detective sergeants to run the unit along with 10 Gardaí and two clerical officers.
The Protective Services Unit (PSU) will be located at Dunmanway Garda station which is on a major bus route in order to facilitate its use by individuals living all around West Cork including those who may not have access to a car.
Speaking to The Echo Chief Superintendent Cadogan said the training for the members of the unit should be commencing in the next two to three weeks at the Garda College in Templemore.
“Obviously there will be a lot of interaction with the various statutory and voluntary agencies such as Tusla, the HSE, West Cork Women Against Violence and so on.”
Chief Supt Cadogan said the unit has to be welcomed.
“The West Cork Division has roughly 100 sexual crimes in the division per year as well as domestic-related assaults, which we will be sending them over to that unit.
The West Cork Chief Supt said that Dunmanway Garda station is a relatively new building, constructed in the past ten years and the new unit will be located in a newly renovated section of the station.
“There will be renovations internally, as rooms are being opened up to facilitate an open plan office and there will be a specialist interview room with very specific dimensions and equipment needed for that type of interview and that is being taken into account.
“It is going to tender by the OPW in the next three weeks, then there will be ten weeks of a build and after that, we will be getting the team in.”
Speaking about the unit, Chief Supt Cadogan said: “If you have a very serious sexual crime or domestic crime than it is important that it is investigated very fast and brought before the courts and a decision is made on it.
For victims, it can be very traumatic and harrowing.”
Chief Superintendent Tom Myers in charge of North Cork said he hoped to have news of a PSU in North Cork by the next JPC meeting on November 25.