Operation Fiacla intelligence driven and highly effective
OPERATION Fiacla has been one of the Garda Siochana's success stories this year.
Burglary is a high-volume crime and, as a result, it is an influential factor when the annual and quarterly crime figures are being compiled.
A dramatic surge in the number of burglaries in both urban and rural areas became a source of major concern for the garda authorities in the early part of last year.
Commissioner Martin Callinan ordered that a fresh initiative be launched with officers from the six regions controlling their own operations and then feeding into the nationwide Fiacla.
Senior officers decided from the start that Fiacla should be intelligence driven, and key suspects were identified and targeted.
Teams of gardai were appointed in each division to study the local burglary trends and use that information to anticipate where the main offenders were likely to strike next.
The strategy has been highly effective, despite the pressures created by dwindling resources, and the upgrading of the garda fleet has also been a factor in combating the gangs.
It became clear that some of the main offenders were travelling criminals, who slipped out at night from their Dublin-based lairs to carry out a string of attacks on victims, who were either vulnerable or living in isolated regions.
The latest figures showing that a total of almost 7,000 suspects have been arrested – with criminal charges brought against 4,000 of them – underline how effective Fiacla has been.
The garda actions yesterday, culminating in the recovery of the stolen cash and jewellery and the arrests of key suspects, hopefully will provide some comfort to those who fear they could be next on the victim list.
It will also act as a deterrent to the other gangs, who now realise they cannot operate with impunity.