Gardaí ‘winning fight’ against organised crime

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan

There are 25 organised crime gangs operating around the country, but the garda commissioner said he believes gardaí are winning the war against crime.

While Martin Callinan accepted it is an ongoing battle against criminals, he paid tribute to the outstanding successes of gardaí this year from local crime right the way up to subversive and organised crime.

Speaking to reporters at Templemore Garda College, where he led senior management in a two day crime review conference, he said garda management would be putting in place a suite of options to tackle crime.

Mr Callinan said organised crime was always difficult to tackle, as gardaí have to deal with people involved in firearms and drugs and where big money was at stake.

“They are difficult to detect, there’s no doubt about that. We have had huge success in this area in the past.

“It’s a continuing battle. I am confident that a number of current investigations will yield success in time to come.

“Organised crime is what it says. These are very, very serious people. They are very, very serious criminals who will stop at nothing to achieve their own ends, and they bring around them a cohort of people that don’t crumble very easily.

“These people command respect in communities, so we are working very hard to break down those barriers.”

He said the way the gangs operate and membership of them was very fluid, to the point where they bring people in or drop them, depending on the type of activity they are involved in.

“We have had some outstanding successes this year by any stretch of the imagination, both in terms of the subversive crime, the organised crime and indeed ordinary local crime, and the very impressive figures in terms of Operation Fiacla in relation to high volume crime such as burglaries.”

During the year, 6,972 people were arrested during Operation Fiacla and 3,971 charged.

Mr Callinan said they are also trying to tackle the problem of garda time being wasted by having members unnecessarily tied up in court cases. They hoped to create a situation when a lengthy trial was anticipated, the garda witnesses required would be specified at the start of each week.

Mr Callinan said the conference would be spending a lot of time dealing with road traffic issues. He said it was disappointing the number of road fatalities had already surpassed the 2012 total.

“When people criticise us for lack of enforcement they should bear in mind we have to date 64,000 check points (in 2013) set up. That’s a level of commitment that is there and will continue.”

Love/Hate

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan confirmed that he too watched the RTÉ blockbuster crime series Love/Hate.

On the participation of a serving detective playing an undercover cop in the show, Mr Callinan said he would have no problem with members of the force taking part in dramatic societies and things of that nature. However, there were issues surrounding the participation of a member of the force in the series.

Asked if it should be dealt with as a disciplinary matter or to create a policy for future guidance, Mr Callinan said: “Let’s wait and see. This isn’t an area I think where you should be prescriptive or descriptive.”


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