Fall in garda numbers blamed for crime rise

by Gazette Reporter

GARDA numbers have dropped by more than 20% in the north Dublin Garda region in the past five years from 825 to 673, according to figures released to Fianna Fail.
This amounts to the loss of almost a fifth of gardai in the North Dublin Metropolitan Region. Garda numbers at some stations in the area are down more than 20% over the past five years.
The North Dublin Garda Region covers Balbriggan, Garristown, Lusk, Rush, Skerries, Malahide, Swords, Howth, Coolock, Clontarf, Raheny, Ballymun, Santry and Dublin Airport Garda stations.
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, meanwhile, said since September 2014, 300 new recruits had entered Garda training college, with the first of these joining the force as sworn members this month.
She said this increased investment, across the board, would be vital to supporting and underpinning the new transformation programme and anti-crime strategy currently being finalised by Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan. The Minister said: “I promised seamless ongoing recruitment, and I am happy to confirm the recruitment of a further 250 new gardai over the coming months. I can also confirm that the next two rounds will see increased intakes of 125 new recruits.
“The additional recruitment will bring to 550 the total number of gardai that will have been recruited by this Government between September 2014 and 2015.”
Her comments follow accusations by Senator Darragh O’Brien (FF) that the Government was not committed to community policing: “Not only did Fine Gael shut down Rush Garda station, downgrade Malahide Garda station and cut resources across our other local stations, they have also cut Garda numbers to dangerously low levels. And communities across north Dublin are suffering the consequences,” he said, adding that there was a surge in burglaries, thefts, anti-social behaviour and drug related crime in Fingal communities which, he claimed, was directly linked to these cuts.
“Despite going above and beyond the call of duty on a daily basis, the bottom line is that the gardai are stretched beyond their limit and they simply do not have the manpower to maintain a strong presence on our streets and engage in robust crime prevention measures.” He went on to say that Garda numbers had been cut year-on-year since 2011 and frontline community policing had been undermined.
A spokesperson from the Department of Justice responded following the resumption of Garda recruitment in September 2014, the Commissioner had the capacity to deploy new gardai for the first time since 2009. “Similarly, investments are being made in vehicles and IT, and in the recruitment of specialist professional staff, which will be to the benefit of crime prevention and policing in all local communities.”

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