Gardaí are concerned about a lack of experienced staff in the unit that investigates fraud offences, following a 111pc increase in that category of crime last year.
The Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) is the lead agency in investigating fraud in the country, and despite being granted 28 extra “net personnel” last year, sources said it needs far more resources.
“GNECB needs more gardaí and needs more crime analysts to tackle what is clearly a very serious and growing problem,” a source said.
Along with another specialist unit, the GNECB is to be relocated soon from offices in the capital’s Harcourt Square to a new facility in Dublin 15.
“All the indications are that the new location is going to be problematic for many of the civilian staff, such as accountants, analysts and the younger gardaí that play such a very important in the unit’s operations,” the source said.
“There are fears that the unit will actually have less staff, and this is major cause of concern.”
The concerns were raised as GNECB had yet another busy week, including the arrest of a well-known solicitor in the Limerick area. The bureau is also involved in the extradition of a number of alleged serious organised international criminals.
While offences such as romance fraud, investment fraud, phishing fraud and account take-over fraud spiralled last year, there was a major decrease in burglaries.
Significant reductions were seen in property crime (down 10pc), residential burglaries (down 18pc), aggravated burglaries (down 20pc), theft from persons (down 31pc) and theft from vehicles (down 29pc).
Reporting of sexual offences was up 10pc last year, with sexual assault reports rising 18pc and rape reports up 10pc.
Gardaí issued around 320,500 fixed charge notices or fines in 2021, including 179,400 for speeding, 23,700 for mobile phone use while driving and 565 for drink-driving.