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Gardai carry out 14,800 city searches

GARDAI in the city carried out a staggering 14,800 'stop-and-searches' in 2013 as part of a major clampdown on drug and weapon possession.

Figures obtained by the Herald show that just 16 assaults were recorded on O'Connell Street – despite the perception that it is a crime blackspot.

However, a Dublin-based minister has said he is concerned that policing in the city may be seen as "oppressive".

Labour TD Joe Costello described the 14,800 figure as "surprising" and warned that the public may view the approach as "over-the-top".

Gardai in the north inner city have been directed to adopt an in-your-face approach as part of a clampdown on drug and weapon possession.

Chief Superintendent Pat Leahy has confirmed that some 14,800 on-the-spot searches took place in his district in 2013.

The figure represents an increase on previous years and comes following a directive to gardai to increase the number of searches they carry out.

While strongly commending the work of gardai in Dublin, Mr Costello said members of the public might view the high number of 'stop-and-searches' as "oppressive".

"It's important that young people don't see themselves as being targeted for no reason.

"And it's also important that there isn't a view among homeless people that they are being targeted because of their appearance. It's about getting the balance right," he added.

WEAPONS

Garda sources insist that the approach has reduced the number of weapons being brought into the city.

"What this approach does is it lets individuals know damn sure that if they are coming into the city with a knife or a quantity of drugs, they face a good chance of getting searched," a source said.

Independent councillor Nial Ring said he believed the number of stop-and-searches should increase next year.

"We want to attract tourists in to the inner city. It is home to the biggest street and the Henry Street shopping district so it's vital that an in-your-face approach is taken by gardai to rid the city of weapons and drugs," he added.

noconnor@herald.ie


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