Saturday 17 March 2018

'Gardaí stopped 40 hits in Hutch-Kinahan feud'

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Stock picture
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Around 40 potential gangland hits linked to the murderous Hutch-Kinahan feud have been foiled by gardaí.

However, the force is solving fewer violent crimes, including sexual offences, than before, the Policing Authority has heard.

Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll told an authority hearing that organised crime groups were enjoying easy access to firearms.

"There was an expectation when a particular feud between two gangs began that there were going to be numerous murders over a period of time," he said.

"But instead what has happened is we have an ever increasing number, in the region of about 40 incidents, where we have prevented loss of life and where that has involved the seizure of firearms and the charging of people."

However, other details to emerge from the hearing were less flattering for the force.

Included was research that showed satisfaction among victims of crime in relation to the service they received was just 51pc in 2016.

The detection rate for sexual offences has also declined, by 19pc, the hearing was told by authority member Judith Gillespie. Deputy Commissioner John Twomey said he believed this may be due to a "time lag" between offences being reported and investigations being completed. He said he was confident the detection rate come year-end would be similar to recent years.

It also emerged from questioning of officers that when a victim of a crime makes a complaint but later withdraws it, or is unable to go to court, the case is still counted as being detected in official statistics.

Meanwhile, the hearing was told relatives of victims of road traffic accidents were charged fees they shouldn't have been for documents relating to those incidents.

A new policy was supposed to have been implemented in January, with gardaí supposed to waive fees for documents in cases where there was a fatality and to cap fees at €1,000 for non-fatal crashes.

Such documentation is often sought if a court action arises from an accident.

However, no directive was issued to members and as a result 28 people were charged €16,820 between them between January 1 and June 29.

Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn said the force was refunding those affected.

Irish Independent

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