Garda Numbers at the Coal-Face Down in 50% of Dublin Districts – Donohoe

22nd December, 2008

Figures obtained by Senator Paschal Donohoe show that community policing levels have fallen in 3 of the 6 policing districts for the Dublin region in the past year.

PQ Reply 47504/08: Personnel strength of the Community Gardaí in the Dublin Metropolitan Region
PQ Reply 47504/08: Personnel strength of the Community Gardaí in the Dublin Metropolitan Region

“The Minister for Justice has responded to recent violent murders in Dublin and reports of a chronic drug problem across the city by boasting of increased Community Garda numbers but as the figures clearly show, half of Dublin has actually lost Community Gardaí in the last year. The disconnect between the public and the Government has seeped into their policy on policing – removing Police from the front line is inexcusable.

“In the South Central, North and East Dublin policing regions there has been a fall in the number of Gardaí policing these areas. This shows that the government commitment to tackling gangland crime is hot air.

“Community policing is essential to keeping our neighbourhoods safe and is a proven crime prevention measure. We now live in a city where teenagers have access to guns and where drugs are openly dealt. Rising levels of antisocial behaviour were highlighted by a recent murder in the East Wall area of my own constituency. These trends will only be halted if Gardaí are highly visible in communities. The Government claim to believe in this. However the fall in community policing levels in half of Dublin shows that their statements are not backed up by any action.

“The Garda Inspectorate has frequently acknowledged that community Gardaí must be at the heart of any policing strategy. Moreover, all the feedback from Dublin communities shows that people want to see Gardaí on the beat. These figures show why – and now Dermot Ahern has chosen to reduce the Garda intake in Templemore Training College.

“The Government are talking out of both sides of their mouth on policing levels and the Minister must redeploy resources to ensure front line services are not further weakened”.