Increasing level of drunkenness and drug-taking blamed in part for rise in Cork assaults

Increasing level of drunkenness and drug-taking  blamed in part for rise in Cork assaults

An increasing level of drunkenness and drug-taking is being blamed in part for a rise in assaults in Cork city and county.

A meeting of the Cork City and County Joint Policing Committee heard there were 290 assaults causing harm reported in the region between January and August this year, which was up from 240 for the comparable period last year.

The number of minor assaults reported rose by more than 100 from 885 to 995.

The figures were provided by Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin, who is in charge of policing Cork City. He also said the level of drunkenness offences has climbed from 997 to 1,113 in the comparable periods.

Criminal damage was also on the rise from 1,089 to 1,254 cases, some of which is attributable to people being under the influence of drink or drugs.

“The increase in the level of intoxication and drug-taking can lead onto assaults,” he said.

Public order offences traditionally rise when people have more money for socialising and this has become an increasing trend since the end of the recession.

Gardaí are far happier about figures which show a drop in theft from shops, which Chief Supt McPolin attributed to operations gardaí have carried out.

“The number of thefts from shops is down about 200. We have been targeting known offenders and have had a number of people before the courts,” the senior garda said.

He added that a number of juveniles based in the city were involved in thefts from cars, many of which were left open by their owners.

“We have been successful in identifying these persons. Some have already been sentenced and more are to come before the courts,” Chief Supt McPolin said.

The number of rapes reported was down from 60 to 41, while the number of sexual assaults remained the same at 145.

Meanwhile, councillors attending a county council meeting earlier in the day voted to seek a meeting with the Minister for Justice and Garda Commissioner to discuss shortages of garda numbers in parts of Cork.

The issue was raised by Cllr Ben Dalton O'Sullivan who said the lack of gardaí had been highlighted by many members of the public and it was “a huge concern,” especially for his constituents in Carrigaline, which doesn't have a 24-hour garda station.

“The situation is getting worse. People deserve proper support from the gardaí, but the gardaí are stretched beyond breaking point,” Cllr Seamus McGrath said.

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