Tuesday 23 July 2019

'We've let society down' - Commissioner apologises to victims of over 3,000 crimes not prosecuted in Garda youth scheme

Garda Commissoner Drew Harris (centre) flanked by Pat Leahy, Deputy Commissioner (left ) and John Twomey (right) Asst Commissioner at a meeting in Dublin Castle of the Policing Authority on the Garda Youth Diversion Programme. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Garda Commissoner Drew Harris (centre) flanked by Pat Leahy, Deputy Commissioner (left ) and John Twomey (right) Asst Commissioner at a meeting in Dublin Castle of the Policing Authority on the Garda Youth Diversion Programme. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

GARDA Commissioner Drew Harris has apologised “profoundly” to the victims of crimes committed by youths who were never prosecuted.

An internal garda report in the force’s youth referral scheme found that 7,894 cases where youths were deemed not suitable for the diversion programme were not appropriately progressed over a seven year period.

One incident of rape, one case of child neglect and one incident of a sexual offence were among those not properly progressed.

The other crimes included public order, 23pc, theft 19pc, traffic 14pc and criminal damage, 11pc.

There were 2,492 individual personal victims and 988 individual business victims of these crimes, which took place between 2010 and 2017.

“I want to apologise to the more than 3,000 victims.

“We’ve let society down by not pursuing these crimes,” the commissioner said today in front of the  Policing Authority at a public meeting.

He also apologised to the children saying there were also failed by the system.

Commissioner Harris said there were some 3,500 members of the force, 25pc of the total, identified as part of the review.

Disciplinary action may follow.

He said the issue was especially prevalent at busy garda stations with high work loads.

A national helpline has been set up for anyone who thinks they’ve been affected on 1800 589 589.

Each victim will receive a letter specific to their case signed by a local district officer.

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