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Wednesday 26 October 2016

Gardaí fail to hit goals on property crime and assaults

Published 21/07/2015 | 02:30

Gardaí have failed to meet two of their main operational goals over the past year - reducing property crime and bringing down the number of violent personal assaults.

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But they achieved their objectives in several other significant categories, including targeting organised crime gangs, identifying and monitoring national and international terrorist and extremist suspects and seizing substantial drug shipments at home and abroad.

The crime indicators are revealed in the force's annual report for 2014.

A rise of less than 1pc in property crime was driven by a 5pc increase in burglaries, after successive years of falling figures, as well as a 5pc increase in thefts of vehicles and 1pc in thefts from vehicles.

Assaults against the person increased for the first time since 2008 and the rise was attributed to a 3pc jump in minor attacks.

The number of murder threats was up by one, from 13 to 14, although the annual murder rate remained unchanged at 52.

Officers targeted and disrupted 621 organised crime groups over the year and focused on gangs involved in illegal activities ranging from drug dealing to human trafficking and metal thefts to stealing vehicles.

The Criminal Assets Bureau secured tax penalties against 46 people in personal crime inquiries, as well as 33 commercial fraud investigations.

The report highlighted what it described as mixed ratings for compliance with road traffic legislation, with speeding detections up by 8pc (226,731 penalty point notices were issued) and seatbelt offences up by 4pc.

The nationwide Operation Fiacla, which was set up to target inter-regional travelling criminals involved in burglary and robbery, resulted in 4,078 arrests and 2,369 of those were subsequently charged with criminal offences.

During the year, the Garda's national drugs unit arrested 60 suspects in connection with trafficking offences and seized €698m worth of drugs.

One of the biggest results came from the interception of 1,025 kilos of cocaine, worth €358m, off the Cork coast, a seizure described by Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan in the report as a prime example of co-operation between the Garda, Revenue Customs and the Naval Service.

The Garda national unit was also involved in an operation leading to a €210m cocaine seizure off the Spanish coast and a €105m haul of cocaine in Portsmouth, England.

Another goal was achieved by bringing down public-order incidents by 11pc on the previous year, while criminal damage dropped by 5pc.

Irish Independent

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