A drastic overhaul of garda working hours has put 25pc more staff on the streets during flashpoint hours.
This was revealed last night by Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, who said the radical new rosters created overlapping shift patterns and allowed extra manpower to be deployed at times of peak demand.
He pointed out that the rosters had been developed within the existing garda budget under the Croke Park Agreement and at no extra cost to the taxpayer.
The changes have meant that additional gardai are available to deal with public order and street crime during the key times of the day and night.
Mr Callinan said its design produced a more effective match between the supply and demands of manpower and the overlapping increased at peak hours.
It is the first fundamental change in working times for gardai in more than 40 years.
Mr Callinan said it was more significant since it was agreed with the staff associations and implemented in the context of constricting financial resources, competing demands and compliance with the European working time directive.
He explained that improved flexibility was being achieved by changing the shift start times to coincide with increased demand for the policing of major events and investigations and with scheduled court dates
Daily and weekly rest provisions and the maximum hours worked per week were protected in line with the European regulations but exceptions would be made to ensure that the policing of special events would not be compromised, he added. The changes have also met with approval from within the force.