Friday 23 March 2018

Gardaí tell pubs: cut down on overcrowding to stop brawls

Stock photo: Getty Images
Stock photo: Getty Images
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Gardaí are encouraging publicans to minimise overcrowding by improving the layout of their establishments to cut down on night-time assaults.

Community gardaí are contacting business owners as part of an initiative to tackle so-called "assault hotspots".

Sgt Kelvin Courtney, of the National Crime Prevention Unit
Sgt Kelvin Courtney, of the National Crime Prevention Unit

Publicans, nightclub operators and takeaway owners will also be encouraged to improve lighting and CCTV in and around their premises.

The initiative is voluntary and separate from existing conditions that licensed premises must abide by.

The move comes as the Garda Analysis Service released new research showing that a quarter of assaults taking place between 8pm and 5am involve the intoxication of the suspected offender, the victim, or both.

It also found that the vast majority of assaults are committed by young men against other young men.

But officers expressed concern that the research did not tell the full story and they estimated that around 40pc of assaults are not reported.

Sgt Kelvin Courtney, of the National Crime Prevention Unit, said some assault victims, particularly young men, were embarrassed to say that they had been assaulted.

"Damaged pride is probably holding them back from making a report. What we are saying to these people is not to be embarrassed," he said.

Sgt Courtney said it was important for assaults to be reported so gardaí know where to divert resources.

He said the force was supporting an initiative known as Purple Flag, which encourages businesses and local authorities to make establishments and areas safer to socialise in.

"Most of our crime-prevention officers are qualified in environmental design. So they can go in and give best advice on how people should lay out their premises, be it the physical layout or their security," said Sgt Courtney.

"This can include ensuring their security is Private Security Authority-approved, that their CCTV is in working order, collecting proper images and the place is well lit. Lighting goes a long way to reducing assaults."

According to the garda research, around 70pc of assaults are male on male, with the majority of offenders aged between 18 and 39.

The analysis showed that the level of assault was typically associated with the vibrancy of the night-time economy, which has showed signs of recovery since the recession.

In Dublin, assaults causing harm rose from 1,396 in 2012 to 1,707 in 2015, while minor assaults increased from 3,100 to 3,337 in the same period.

The data showed just 3pc of perpetrators were repeat offenders.

Irish Independent

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