Gar­dai still un­der pres­sure

The Argus - - NEWS -

GARDA re­sources are slowly re­cov­er­ing fol­low­ing the end of the em­bargo on re­cruit­ment but the force still faces ma­jor chal­lenges.

This was the stark mes­sage de­liv­ered at the an­nual meet­ing of the Joint Polic­ing Com­mit­tee for the Dun­dalk Dis­trict held in Car­ling­ford last week.

Chief Supt Christy Man­gan pulled no punches as he out­lined the chal­lenges faced by gar­dai work­ing along the border.

He re­vealed that he had met with the As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner for the North­ern Re­gion who was draw­ing up a blue­print for all devel­op­ments along the border, for the man­power re­quired to ef­fec­tive po­lice the border.

‘ The crime rate in Louth is higher than in other coun­ties,’ he said, adding that there was also a large pop­u­la­tion which comes in and out of the county on a daily ba­sis.

Hav­ing served 36 years with An Garda Siochana, he wel­comed the re­cent re­port on the fu­ture of polic­ing in Ire­land, as it out­lined a plan for the fu­ture.

‘ The Gov­ern­ment wanted this,’ he con­tin­ued, and it was im­por­tant the whole plan is im­ple­mented and that they don’t take an a al carte ap­proach to it.

‘It’s a very good re­port,’ he stated, say­ing he hoped the gov­ern­ment don’t leave it do gather dust. ‘If they do it’s a missed op­por­tu­nity.’

The meet­ing heard that a num­ber of fac­tors were plac­ing a high de­mand on garda re­sources in the Divi­sion.

There had been three mur­ders in the county this year, giv­ing it the high­est mur­der rate out­side of Dublin, said Supt Christy Mana­gan.

These were de­mand­ing on re­sources and had to be dealt with in an ex­tremely pro­fes­sional way.

Tack­ling the on­go­ing prob­lem of anti-so­cial be­hav­iour in Car­ling­ford at bank hol­i­days and week­ends was also a ma­jor drain on re­sources, with gar­dai from other unit be­ing drafted into the vil­lage, out­lined Supt Gerry Cur­ley.

How­ever, he warned that he had to be care­ful in terms of bud­get which was re­duced as they neared the end of the year.

There had been an im­prove­ment in re­sources in the last num­ber of years com­pared to when the mora­to­rium on re­cruit­ment was in place, but it was a slow process.

Chief Supt Man­gan added that five new sergeants had been al­lo­cated to the Divi­sion that very day, three for Drogheda and two for Dun­dalk.

There were also twelve gar­dai in Dun­dalk await­ing pro­mo­tion to sergeant and he would like to keep ev­ery one of them in the divi­sion.

Micheal Gaynor of Dun­dalk BIDS com­plained that peo­ple were tak­ing drugs in town cen­tre car parks and streets on an on-go­ing ba­sis. ‘ The dogs on the street know it’s hap­pen­ing.’

‘ This is not the im­age we’d like for the town as we’re try­ing to pro­mote the town as a place to do busi­ness.’

He said he would like to see a lot more en­gage­ment be­tween the gar­dai and re­tail­ers and a more vis­ual garda pres­ence in town dur­ing the day.

Supt Cur­ley said he was sat­is­fied that they had im­proved garda vis­i­bil­ity in town, point­ing out that they mon­i­tor the lo­cal schools twice a day and that there is also a garda on busi­ness watch and town pa­trol.

He ac­cepted that there ‘ab­so­lutely was a prob­lem’ with drugs in the town cen­tre but they had put in re­sources and had suc­cess in bring­ing peo­ple be­fore the courts.

The meet­ing heard that gar­dai had re­sponded to over 3,000 crimes and more than 4,800 non crime in­ci­dents so far this year,

‘It’s a busy dis­trict,’ Supt Cur­ley said as he pre­sented the lo­cally col­lected sta­tis­tics for the first nine months of the year.

Head­line crimes in­cluded 89 se­ri­ous as­saults, 121 mi­nor as­saults, 33 sex­ual as­saults, 27 threats to the per­son, many of which are drugs re­lated.

Thirty-four ar­rests had been made in re­spect of pos­sess­ing drugs for sup­ply while 123 were ar­rested for pos­ses­sion of drugs for per­sonal use at 123. The num­ber of peo­ple stopped and searched was 974. Most of these searches re­lated to peo­ple sus­pected of hav­ing drugs or of­fen­sive weapons as well as searches of prop­erty car­ried out un­der war­rant.

Thirty peo­ple were ar­rested for car­ry­ing of­fen­sive weapons, 65 in­ci­dents of fraud, and 268 in­ci­dents of crim­i­nal dam­age, and 439 pub­lic or­der of­fences recorded.

There were 86 re­ports of miss­ing per­sons, a de­mand­ing is­sue which placed se­ri­ous pres­sure on garda re­sources, said Supt Cur­ley.

Dur­ing the first nine months of the year, there were 205 bur­glar­ies, 601 thefts, com­pris­ing 267 thefts from shops, 111 thefts from ve­hi­cles, 131 thefts (oth­ers), and 22 rob­beries.

A to­tal of 495 ve­hi­cles were seized by gar­dai and 520 traf­fic of­fences were recorded.

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