Sinn Féin spokesperson on Addiction, Recovery and Wellbeing Thomas Gould has today written to the Minister for Justice seeking further training for Gardaí on how to implement the Novel Psychoactive Substances Act 2010.
The Cork North Central TD added that members of the force are uncomfortable charging under that act due to its complexity, and that it is vital that they receive training on it to ensure that young people are protected from psychoactive substances which do not fall under other legislation.
Teachta Gould’s comments come following a response to a Parliamentary Question he submitted. The response states that the Gardaí received a HQ Directive in August 2010 stating that the Novel Psychoactive Substances Act became law on 14th July 2010.
Teachta Gould said:
“There are serious concerns around the state about the Gardaí’s ability to implement this vital act. The Novel Psychoactive Substances Act was brought in to prevent illicit substances skirting under the line of the law.
“What I am hearing on the ground is that many Gardaí are not comfortable with charging under this Act. On the back of this, I contacted the Minister asking to confirm what training was provided to Gardaí in this complex piece of legislation.
“I am extremely disappointed to hear that the only training provided is by way of a HQ directive. This is an extremely difficult piece of legislation but it is vital to ensuring that young people are protected from psychoactive substances which do not fall under other legislation.
“We have a situation in Cork currently whereby Gardaí are failing to end the selling of a substance that should fall under this Act. This is greatly affecting the local community. With proper training, I believe Gardaí would be able to protect this community properly.
“I have written to the Minister for Justice today to ask that she seek clarity from the Garda Commissioner in relation to this. We cannot have a situation whereby legislation is not implemented because of a lack of training.”