ONE of the Ireland's most decorated gardai believes today's criminals are more ruthless than ever before.
Former Assistant Commissioner Tony Hickey (right), who led the investigation into the brutal murder of journalist Veronica Guerin, has faced some of the country's most notorious criminals.
But he believes they pale in comparison to the thugs running gangland Ireland today.
The decorated garda hero said: "There seems to be more gratuitous violence now than there ever was before.
"The young criminals now seem to be more ruthless, they don't have any rules at all, no regard for life."
Mr Hickey, described as the best officer never to become commissioner, retired in 2005 after 40 years.
He said the recession had made people "more desperate".