No vehicles for community policing unit
COMPLAINTS that the lack of dedicated cars or vans is hampering the work of community policing units in Dundalk and Drogheda, was voiced at the Joint Policing Committee meeting last week.
John Temple, community representative, complained that the community policing unit in Dundalk comprised of two gardai and a sergeant who haven’t had access to a vehicle for the past 18 months. At one stage there were six members in the unit.
He pointed out that community alert groups in Dundalk would like to have gardai at their AGMs. He also noted that the college year had started recently but without transport, gardai couldn’t visit all the areas where students live.
The representative of the Faughart Community Alert scheme also complained that a promised meeting with gardai hadn’t taken place.
Supt Christy Mangan acknowledged that transport was a major issue and that the community policing units were operating without any vehicles of their own.
He said that while the Division had been allocated a new car the previous day, it had to be used to replace another car in Drogheda which had reached the end of its life.
‘Cars are driven to the limit at high speed and in atrocious weather,’ he said, revealing that they had also had a number of cars rammed and written off.
Once vehicle had clocked up 300,000kms, they had to be taken off the road, even if they weren’t being replaced.
Conceding that the lack of vehicles was ‘a problem’, he said he would like to have community vehicles in both towns and said he is in constant contact with the Department regarding this.
Supt Gerry Curley stressed that he didn’t reduce the community policing unit in Dundalk and that his plan was to increase it by one or two members before the end of the year.
He added that the members of community unit in Dundalk are cyclists, and while bicycles were not a replacement for cars, there were circumstances where they could be more useful such as patrolling areas with laneways and alleyways. It was also useful for gardai to be out and about on the streets.
He would try to arrange for a meeting with the community alert schemes before the end of the year,