Monday 23 January 2017

Fear of crime 'palpable', admits Garda chief

Published 26/04/2016 | 02:30

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan (right), with Josephine Feehily, chairwoman of the Policing Authority, at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin yesterday. Photo: Damien Eagers
Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan (right), with Josephine Feehily, chairwoman of the Policing Authority, at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin yesterday. Photo: Damien Eagers

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan has admitted that the fear of crime is "palpable" in communities, particularly in rural areas.

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She was speaking at her first meeting in public with the Policing Authority and spent two hours, along with her management team, addressing various issues.

However, Ms O'Sullivan insisted that initiatives, such as Operation Thor, were yielding results, with a substantial drop in property crime and significant arrests.

Despite the pressures faced by An Garda Síochána, she said tackling organised crime and dissident terrorism remained their top priorities.

The Garda Representative Association, which is holding its annual conference in Killarney, is to discuss whether the force should remain largely unarmed.

The Commissioner said management had examined the appropriate level of armed response and would be introducing a new armed response unit in Dublin in June, with an extra 55 officers.

She said they were also looking at what was required around the country, where regional support units are already in existence.

Deputy Commissioner John Twomey said the force intended to establish community policing teams, involving both uniformed gardaí and detectives.

The head of garda analysis, Dr Gurchand Singh, said An Garda Síochána was carrying out a survey to determine the fear of crime among the general public.

They were aware that this fear was higher in some areas and among some groups.

The authority also explored plans their plans to reduce the number of road deaths and serious injuries with senior gardai.

Assistant Commissioner John O'Mahony said there had been 50 deaths on the roads so far this year, up four on the corresponding period in 2015.

Irish Independent

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