Confusion over Garda boundaries had led to criminals fleeing crime scenes – IFA
Confusion over where Gardai boundaries in rural areas has led to a number of incidences where criminals have been able to flee crime scenes unchallenged, the IFA Deputy President has said.
Richard Kennedy told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality said that there have been several incidents recently where confusion over Garda divisional boundaries has seen suspected criminals get away scott free.
“Over the last year, several serious incidents have occurred on farms…many farmers and rural dwellers live in real fear for their safety, which is compounded by geographic and service isolation. Theft of valuables from rural homes and of livestock and machinery from farms is also a major concern.”
He said incidents have occurred within a short distance of a Garda station maybe a 1km, but due to Garda divisional boundary rules, the investigation was passed to a Garda station 22km away.
"As a result, the culprits and persons of interest were not apprehended. The Gardai tell us they can't do anything about it. It is very frustrating," Mr Kennedy said.
The IFA's Crime Prevention Officer, Barry Carey highlighted another incident where one side of the system is investigating an incident heavily with air support and armed units and the local Garda station didn’t know anything about it.
"There was a helicopter in the sky with support units out after a particular group.
"Members of the local community saw individuals on the road who were suspected of being involved in the incident.
"They phoned the Garda station to report it but they were told by the officer it wasn’t their area.
"Then suddenly within half an hour they got a phone call back from the Gardai wondering where the individuals where. Well they're gone," he told the meeting.
The IFA is calling for the establishment of a dedicated Rural Crime Task Force and Mr Kennedy highlighted how a similar UK task force has been successful in tackling rural crime.
The IFA Deputy President also said there is a serious problem with cross-border crime.
“A more streamlined crime reporting system, immediate sharing of intelligence, and information exchange would increase the level of visibility and awareness, particularly where crime has been reported in border areas.”
Richard Kennedy said the IFA has taken a proactive role in the area of crime prevention. He highlighted the many joint initiatives it has engaged with An Garda Síochána on, including; Crimestoppers, Community Text Alerts and Theftstop.
However, he said more needs to be done. “There is a need for greater patrolling of rural Ireland. Farm families need to see a much greater Garda presence on the road.”
For Stories Like This and More
Download the Free Farming Independent App