Community policing numbers cut by half

by Sylvia Pownall

COMMUNITY policing has been slashed by almost 50% in the past two years, figures show.
The number of
gardai on the beat in local neighbourhoods across the Dublin mid-west division now stands at 35, compared to 64 in 2014.
The Mid-West division includes Clondalkin,
Ballyfermot, Lucan,
Rathcoole, Ronanstown and Blanchardstown/Finglas.
The figures provided by Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, show a decrease in garda numbers at stations across the division.
Clondalkin Garda Station had 92 gardai in
September 2016, compared with 100 in 2010, while Ronanstown went from 95 to 89.
Garda numbers in Lucan fell from 82 to 73 during the same period, Rathcoole is down one third from 29 to 20 and Ballyfermot now has 83 gardai in comparison to 100 six years ago.
Sinn Fein Cllr Mark Ward said increasing garda resources in her own constituency should be a number one priority for Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

Purse strings
He told The Gazette: “The guards are hamstrung by lack of numbers. People in Clondalkin would feel safer if there was more of a visible garda presence.
I’ll be calling on the minister to release the purse strings in 2017.”
Deputy John Curran (FF) said the information highlights the need to strengthen garda numbers in the area
of community policing.
Deputy Curran said: “Community gardai are critical in preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, while ensuring people feel safe in
their own neighbourhoods.
“The Dublin West division recorded over 550 incidents of serious crime in the first half of 2016.”
The Justice Minister, below, says that 50 new garda recruits have been assigned to DMR West since the reopening of the garda college in
Templemore in 2014.
Government funding is in place to provide for the recruitment of 800
trainee gardai in 2017.

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