Gardaí call for budget resources to combat rural crime

Middle-ranking gardaí have demanded the Government prioritise policing resources in the upcoming budget following an increase in crime, particularly in rural areas.

The Association of Garda Sergeant and Inspectors laid the blame on Garda station closures and austerity. It said the Government should now use the budget to prioritise and ringfence resources for “crime prevention, crime patrols and crime investigations”.

“This includes bolstering Garda numbers in both rural and urban areas,” said AGSI deputy general secretary John Jacob.

“We are now witnessing the human impact of Garda station closures and seven years of austerity raising its head. Increased crime is the result of those decisions at Government level.”

He said the public deserved to feel safe but the “media conversation” had been re-directed to organisational matters lately, all while people and communities were suffering at the hands of criminals.

“The organisation’s hands need to be untied,” he said. “Previously An Garda Síochána introduced Operation Anvil to target criminals. That operation proved to be very successful and a similar operation should be reintroduced to combat what is happening at present.

“The Central Statistics Office figures released this summer show that there were 420 crimes a month reported on farms throughout the country in the first half of 2014. We all know that the fear of crime is always greater than the actual statistics, but we have a duty to ensure people feel safe in their homes, communities, and in their place of work.”

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