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Irish police officer faces disciplinary inquiry for giving unclaimed bicycle to "vulnerable and isolated" elderly man for transport during the pandemic

The garda, who reportedly has "significant support" from colleagues, was suspended for three years after giving the man living in a rural area a bike so he could get to the shops...

An Irish police officer will this week face a disciplinary inquiry having been suspended for three years after giving an unclaimed bicycle to a "vulnerable and isolated" man in a rural area who needed help getting to the shops during the Covid pandemic.

The Irish Independent reports the unnamed garda only returned to work in late 2023 after the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) deemed that he had "no criminal case" to answer. He will however face a sworn disciplinary inquiry on Tuesday and is facing a number of possible sanctions, including reprimand, a fine, a caution, or even dismissal from the force.

It is reported the garda has "significant support" from his peers over the matter, many of whom will be hoping he is cleared of all wrongdoing by the disciplinary inquiry.

The three-year suspension began following raids by NBCI gardaí at both his home in front of his wife and children, and at the home of the elderly man who had received the bicycle during the pandemic as a means of travelling to the shops, the resident described as "vulnerable and isolated" by sources and living in a rural area, his own bike no longer in working order.

The man had spoken to the officer about the issue. He decided to give the "isolated" resident an unclaimed bicycle that had been in the force's possession for "some time previously" as nobody had come forward to claim it, often due to the fact a bike has been stolen but unclaimed (although the exact circumstances of the relevant bike in this case are not known).

> Police in Dublin find more than 100 stolen bikes worth €250,000

The garda had failed to fill out the appropriate paperwork, prompting investigation, the raids and his suspension, despite being described as an officer approaching retirement from an "exemplary" career.

The bike was taken from the elderly man during the raid on his home, the separate raid on the garda's home undertaken in the presence of his family and causing "great distress". It is reported he had "no idea" he was under investigation until the raid took place.

Tuesday's inquiry will be adjudicated by a legal professional, a superintendent, and a chief superintendent who are unconnected to the case, the garda returning to "restricted duties" work since the back end of last year when he was reinstated having been found to have "no criminal case" to answer. His policing future will be decided upon tomorrow.

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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15 comments

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Ride On | 2 months ago
0 likes

The worlds gone mad!

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OldRidgeback | 2 months ago
1 like

So an officer gets reprimanded for showing some kindness. That's very poor.

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Creakingcrank | 2 months ago
4 likes

It was the Chief Superintendent's bicycle. Only explanation I can think of.

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cyclisto | 2 months ago
5 likes

I wonder how much this bureaucracy costed over an unclaimed bike probably valued around 100 quid in the second-hand market

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HoarseMann | 2 months ago
9 likes

Seems like the days where employees are empowered to make decisions really are over. So much bureaucracy in businesses and public services these days, where every minor request needs to be signed off through some convoluted process. Fail to follow this process and the response is often massively out of proportion.

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belugabob replied to HoarseMann | 2 months ago
2 likes

Unless, of course, the officers motives aren't as honourable, in which case they'll be defended, senior ranks

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chrisonabike replied to belugabob | 2 months ago
4 likes

Breaking rules for "good" - maverick, sack 'em.

Breaking rules for ill - you've a choice:
 - If it's strictly to make them look better at their job / suck up to superiors this shows ambition.  Promote them.
 - If their actions will clearly "bring the organisation into disrepute" but it looks like this was not uncommon / done by some senior staff / the bosses "knew but didn't say" - close ranks and keep denying it up to the enquiry and beyond.

It's not just the police / uniformed organisations of course; the Post Office / Fujitsu have given an object lesson in this.

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open_roads | 2 months ago
12 likes

If the facts are as presented in the article, the punishment of the officer is a blow for kindness and compassion - not to mention a scandalous waste of public money.

Being suspended on full pay for years also sounds great in principle but the reality is that it often results in poor mental health.

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andystow replied to open_roads | 2 months ago
2 likes

open_roads wrote:

If the facts are as presented in the article, the punishment of the officer is a blow for kindness and compassion - not to mention a scandalous waste of public money.

Being suspended on full pay for years also sounds great in principle but the reality is that it often results in poor mental health.

I'd love to be suspended from my job for a year with full pay... provided I could take a second job or do some meaningful volunteer work.

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Matthew Acton-Varian replied to andystow | 2 months ago
1 like

I think many people would.

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dubwise | 2 months ago
3 likes

Is this April 1st?

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brooksby | 2 months ago
1 like

"Is it about a bicycle...?" 

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perce replied to brooksby | 2 months ago
1 like

I'll have to ask Policeman Fox.

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Dnnnnnn | 2 months ago
9 likes

This all sounds very odd - three years suspension for a minor misdemeanor? 
I wonder if there's more going on than is reported here.

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Patrick9-32 | 2 months ago
14 likes

I understand that there *could* be officers who steal from the evidence room for personal gain and hide it behind philanthropy but if the information above is even approaching the whole story this isn't that at all. This officer seems like they should be commended, not punished. At the most some additional training to ensure they know and follow processes properly in future would be more than enough punishment. 

"They were trying to do some good for the community. We can't have the police gaining a reputation for that sort of thing!!"

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