Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson on Justice, Jim O’Callaghan has welcomed news that more than 200 gardaí have started training on how to quickly identify digital devices that may contain child abuse imagery.

It is hoped that the number of gardaí trained will help to speed up investigations and that by the end of March there will be 240 front line gardaí trained as cybercrime first responders.

Deputy O’Callaghan said: “News of the training which is underway for members of An Garda Síochána is extremely positive news. We have seen the rise of the role digital devices play in the distribution of child abuse imagery in the past number of years.

“It is hoped that the training which is being provided, will help reduce the workload of the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau. This vital training should allow the backlog of digital devices that require analysis after being seized during investigations become a faster process.

“We already know there is a delay in the prosecution of offenders for possessing or sharing images of child pornography.”

It was reported in recent weeks that the maximum wait time for analysis of devices is currently 2.5 years.

“This training is a positive step forward in the battle against child abuse imagery in Ireland. This training will reduce the number of devices being sent to the bureau as gardaí will be able to prioritise devices at the scene,” concluded Deputy O’Callaghan