Kettles, fridges and microwaves have been confiscated from gardaí working on sentry duty at a high-profile station, it emerged today.
Within the last month, senior gardaí have carried two raids on the north and south sentry towers at Harcourt Square station in Dublin.
The everyday items taken were used by officers to prepare and store snacks and drinks for their sentry duty shifts.
The first raid took place in the early hours of the morning when a Garda Inspector confiscated kettles, a stand-alone fridge and a microwave and took them away in a Garda van.
In the second raid, another kettle, a newly delivered mini-fridge and padded office chairs were confiscated. Garden seat-type chairs were provided for the gardaí on sentry duty instead.
No reasons were given for the confiscation of the items, which were taken away in Garda vans. They had all been officially requested last year from Garda management and authorised and delivered in the New Year.
A source said the raids had affected the dignity, welfare and morale of gardaí on sentry duty. They saw them as an indirect form of bullying and resented the implication that they were not entitled to take a break for food during their entire shift.
There have also been internal complaints that the confiscation of the fridges could lead to gardaí on sentry duty getting food poisoning from perishable snacks and sandwiches.
There is a constant Garda security presence outside the red-bricked Harcourt Square station, which is seen as the nerve centre of Garda operations in the Dublin region.
Its command and control unit handles all 999 calls made in the capital and is responsible for dispatching Garda units to crime and accidents.
Harcourt Square is also the headquarters for the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation and the Garda Racial and Intercultural Office.
The Garda Representative Association said it had received complaints from its members about the raids and would be taking them up with Garda management.
“All entitlements for gardai as negotiated over the years apply to all posts and positions within an Garda Siochana, regardless of where or how or when their duties as a police officer are carried out,” said a spokesman.
A Garda management spokesperson was unavailable for comment.