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Paul Gillen – AGSI Excellence Winner 2012


A garda detective inspector has been honoured by his colleagues for his primary role in establishing a world-leading educational programme for fighting cybercrime – computer and information technology criminality – and for tackling international paedophile rings.

D/Insp Paul Gillen is this year’s winner of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) Excellence Award and was presented with the award at the association’s Annual Delegate Conference in the Seafield Hotel, Ballymoney, Co. Wexford.

The award being presented by AGSI Deputy General Secretary John Redmond

Among the high profile cases Paul was involved with were the ‘Lying Eyes’ case in which Sharon Collins was convicted of hiring an online hitman to murder her wealthy partner and Operation Amethyst against an international paedophile pornography operation which had spread its tentacles into hundreds of Irish homes. He was also involved in Operation Iron and Operation Bonfire aimed against international paedophiles.

“Paul is one of the most experienced and highly respected officers in An Garda Síochána,” said the presenter of the award, AGSI Deputy General Secretary John Redmond. “He has played a leading role in the fight against cybercrime all around the world.”

Paul being interviewed by the media during the AGSI Conference.

Attached to the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, Paul initiated a world-leading educational development programme for law enforcement officials in the European Union in the area of computer crime investigations – the first of its kind in the world. Now, fifteen years after Paul’s vision, the first 16 law enforcement members from throughout the EU were conferred with Master of Science Forensic Computing and Cybercrime Investigations degree parchments from UCD in September 2011.

“Paul’s commitment, drive, stamina and dedication have raised the professional bar in the area of computer crime investigations throughout Europe,” concluded John Redmond.

In his acceptance speech, Paul thanked CDU/SDU branch secretary Ronan Joyce for his nomination and also to the association trustees – Chris Cronin, Rita Delaney and Donal Duignan for selecting him from a number of very worthy nominations. He was proud and humbled to be selected by his peers for the honour.

Paul pictured with his wife Cheryl 
Paul and outgoing AGSI President Padraic Dolan

He outlined the moves which started 16 years ago on his appointment in charge of the newly formed Computer Crimes Investigation Unit (CCIU) in the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation to extract vital evidence from computers for court. Computer technology was developing at a staggering rate and training in this area was unstructured, expensive and unsatisfactory. Starting in 2001 he proposed a harmonised cybercrime training and education programme for EU law enforcement officers, a proposal that was accepted by the EU Commission.

That has since led to the:
• European Cybercrime Training and Education Group (ECTEG) at Europol
• Development of 17 individual training courses on cybercrime
• Training of over 2000 cybercrime investigators around the world
• Creation of the Masters Degree course in Forensic Computing and Cybercrime Investigation in UCD.

From lett – Rita Delaney, association trustee (selection committee), Paul, Walter Kilcullen (nominator) and Cheryl.

Paul paid a sincere tribute to his colleagues in the CCIU who spend thousands of hours annually analysing computer images of horrifying child abuse with the aim of bringing the perpetrators to court – they have encountered abusers with more than 100,000 explicit images of children being abused.

Concluding, Paul said innocent victims of abuse should be assured that the Garda Síochána would strive to protect them no matter where they were.