It is the first large-scale investigation stemming from a new community policing initiative running in Dublin’s north inner city. The programme is set to be replicated across the capital and possibly the country.
The small areas’ policing programme has so far involved face-to-face interviews with 8,000 residents by community gardaí.
Information provided by local people, in addition to concerns from their political representatives, were taken and analysed by gardaí.
The operation, code-named Tempest, involved a six-month covert investigation aimed at identifying people involved in the sale of heroin, cocaine, and other illegal drugs.
Gardaí from three local stations — Store Street, Bridewell, and Mountjoy — worked closely with the Garda National Drugs Unit.
The GNDU Test Purchase Unit assisted local gardaí in targeting street dealers, involving the purchase of drugs from them by undercover officers.
“This operation is being led out by the community policing gardaí attached to the North Central Division and is a direct response to community concerns identified during the door-to-door engagement by the community gardaí since January of this year,” said Chief Supt Pat Leahy, the divisional officer and brainchild of the community policing initiative.
“At this point in the operation, 46 searches have been conducted and 30 persons have been arrested.”
Gardaí expect the operation will result in almost 100 charges connected with the sale of drugs against 45 people. Chief Supt Leahy said the accused will be brought before the district court tomorrow.
More than 100 gardaí took part in yesterday’s operation which involved the assistance of the elite Emergency Response Unit, the Garda Air Support Unit, the Garda Dog Unit as well as the GNDU.
Chief Supt Leahy said the aim of such lengthy operations was to provide a “long-term outcome” to problems. He said that the assistant commissioner for Dublin, John Twomey, has signalled “ready to go” with expanding the community policing system across the city.
The chief superintendent said any decision to roll it out nationally was one for acting commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan but, on a personal basis, he could see no reason why not.
Yesterday’s arrests are in addition to 55 arrests conducted under Operation Spire in the north inner city.