Gar­daí tack­ling as­sault rates in new cam­paign

New Ross Standard - - NEWS - By ANNA HAYES

WEX­FORD GAR­DAI are en­cour­ag­ing young peo­ple to think be­fore they act in a new cam­paign aimed at re­duc­ing the num­ber of as­saults on the county’s streets.

‘Use Your Brain, Not Your Fists’ is a na­tion­wide garda ini­tia­tive tar­get­ing those most likely to of­fend through pub­lic aware­ness and en­gage­ment. The lo­cal cam­paign is be­ing co­or­di­nated by Crime Preven­tion Of­fi­cer, Sgt Bren­dan Moore and com­mu­nity polic­ing garda Anne-Marie Doyle.

Garda Doyle ex­plained that the tar­get group is young males, aged be­tween 18 and 39, as sta­tis­tics had shown that 83% of as­saults were car­ried out by men in this age bracket. In­tox­i­cants, she said, played a large role in such in­ci­dents.

Sgt Moore said: ‘ The Wex­ford fig­ures are no higher than any­where else but one as­sault is one too many. We will be tar­get­ing the peak times for such in­ci­dents, which is 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. on week­ends. We want to en­gage with those who fall into this de­mo­graphic and we will have a highly vis­i­ble pres­ence in ar­eas where such in­ci­dents might hap­pen.’

Garda Doyle pointed out that they were ask­ing peo­ple to be vig­i­lant with their own safety and to re­port as­saults, ex­plain­ing that only 55% of as­saults, ap­prox­i­mately, were ac­tu­ally re­ported.

Sgt Moore added that they were try­ing to send out a mes­sage to young peo­ple to be more re­spon­si­ble for their ac­tions: ‘We’re not say­ing peo­ple can’t en­joy them­selves but they should take nec­es­sary pre­cau­tions and be aware of the con­se­quences if they don’t. Sim­i­larly, we are ask­ing peo­ple to be street­wise and not to present op­por­tu­ni­ties for po­ten­tial at­tacks - be mind­ful of your per­sonal property, don’t walk home alone, and al­ways have a charged phone.’

He pointed out that ev­ery such in­ci­dent had a knock-on ef­fect on other emer­gency ser­vices, such as the am­bu­lance and the A&E in the lo­cal hos­pi­tal.

Garda Doyle pointed out that as well as the phys­i­cal and men­tal ef­fects an as­sault could have on both the per­pe­tra­tor and their vic­tim, there were other con­se­quences too.

‘Of­ten, what Gar­dai are see­ing are ‘one punch at­tacks’ from peo­ple who might never come to garda at­ten­tion be­fore or again. Their lives are to­tally changed from one stupid de­ci­sion. They could lose their job, their right to travel and work abroad, even go to jail.’

The cam­paign is on­go­ing across the coun­try.

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