New Garda division to tackle violence on public transport being considered

A dedicated transport police could be set up to address growing concerns about anti-social behaviour.

According to the Irish Times, the government is considering the move to improve the experience of passengers.

There has been a rise in violence on public transport recently.

Gardaí dealt with 43 assaults on trains last year, up from nine the previous year.

Irish Rail also says 407 complaints of anti-social behaviour were made to them in 2017, an increase from 246 the year before.

A new Garda division could be given powers to deal with incidents on board in an attempt to tackle the problem.

Barry Kenny from Irish Rail says a dedicated policing unit is something for gardaí to consider.

"Anything that can strengthen and support the cover that all public transport operators have in dealing with the societal issue of anti-social behaviour is something that we would be interested in," he said.

"Ultimately that is something that the government with the gardaí have to review in terms of the resources because there are obviously policing resources needed for all kinds of reasons, ourselves as well."

Labour spokesperson for Transport, Senator Kevin Humphreys has called on the government to bring forward legislation on a dedicated transport policy unit before next summer.

"I am calling on the Minister for Justice and Transport to bring forward legislation before we hit peak customer journey numbers by next summer," Senator Humphreys said.

"I am also of the opinion that any unit should be set up within An Garda Síochána, and not be farmed out to a private security firm.

"Private securities firms do not have the authority to detain people who commit violent or antisocial acts on board public transport."

Digital Desk

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