Tuesday 6 December 2016

Gardaí build dossiers on more than 100 prolific burglars

Published 21/12/2015 | 02:30

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan. Photo: Mark Condren
Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan. Photo: Mark Condren

Garda case managers have been assigned to more than 100 suspected prolific burglars to ensure judges have a clear picture of their criminal career when they are prosecuted and facing sentence.

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Each of the managers will build up an individual dossier on 119 suspects and co-ordinate pending charges against them when they appear in court.

This is designed to prevent suspects being charged with single offences at different courts and avoiding a jail sentence.

The move has been put into action as the first results from the new anti-burglary and robbery crackdown, Operation Thor, show that it is already yielding dividends.

Thor was launched by Garda Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan last month.

Last week, CSO figures showed there was a total of 28,407 burglary offences recorded up to September of this year, representing an increase of 1,660, or 6.2pc, when compared with the corresponding period ending in 2014.

But gardaí say that figures for November show property crime during the month dropped to its lowest level for that period in 15 years.

Senior garda officers say they are wary of hailing the operation as an immediate success until they have analysed the statistics for a few months. But they are pleased with the initial efforts, which included a number of significant captures and seizures.

The case managers will examine the suspects' previous convictions as well as pending charges and, if they are on bail, make checks to establish that they are abiding by the terms laid down by the courts.

The measure will be implemented alongside another offender management initiative involving the gardaí, Prison Service and Probation Service working together.

The tasks are being performed by gardaí, either during their normal working week or on overtime, and paid out of a special budget allocated by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

Teams of analysts have been appointed in each of the six Dublin divisions to identify the burglary and robbery 'hot spots' and help predict when and where the criminals are likely to strike again.

Information provided by investigators, combined with intelligence gathered on the streets, is also being analysed to determine which burglars are likely to be involved.

Crackdown

Similar measures are also being implemented in the other regions, with the appointment of extra analysts at the start of this month.

Since the crackdown, several heavily resourced operations have been organised, with up to 70 garda personnel involved. Another major operation is planned for the Christmas season, involving over 60 gardaí along the M50.

It will last several days and focus on drivers who are disqualified for road traffic offences or suspected of drink driving, as well as disrupting the activities of criminals like burglars and those wanted on bench warrants. Suspects whose fingerprints have been discovered at previous scenes of crime will be arrested for questioning.

Measures have also been put in place to speed up communication between the garda regions.

Irish Independent

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