Increased Garda visibility and a focus on community policing is key to tackling anti-social behaviour, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Leader of Seanad Éireann and Senator from Cork South Central Jerry Buttimer noted that this time of year can mean an increase in anti-social behaviour.
“It is important during the festive season that everyone has a good time and enjoys themselves but this should not be to the detriment of other people. Alcohol fuelled behaviour has caused issues in our cities and towns of late. Front line and community policing is the key way to tackle this problem and that is why Fine Gael in Government is prioritising increased recruitment to allow more Gardaí to be deployed on the beat.
“The Government has increased the budget for An Garda Síochána to €1.76 billion for 2019 which includes provision for the recruitment of increased Garda numbers next year. The Garda Commissioner has now informed the Minister that he plans to recruit a total of 600 trainee Gardaí in 2019, while at the same time, it is his intention to recruit a net 600 Garda Staff (civilians).
“This recruitment drive will allow the Commissioner to redeploy 500 fully trained Gardaí from administrative duties to frontline policing in 2019. This is in addition to the 250 Gardaí expected to be redeployed to frontline duties over the course of 2018.
“As part of the drive against anti-social behaviour, perhaps it is time we also started a conversation around the use of on the spot fines to help Gardaí combat any problems on our streets. This is something that should be explored, to supplement the work we are doing in expanding the capacity of the Gardaí through recruitment.
The Garda Commissioner has also confirmed that the Government’s commitment to increase the overall strength of An Garda Síochána to 19,000 (15,000 Garda members and 4,000 Garda staff) will be achieved by the target date of 2021.
“In 2014 Fine Gael re-opened the Garda training college in Templemore after it had been closed by Fianna Fáil during the economic crash. Since it reopened, just under 2,200 recruits have attested. And with the additional Garda recruitment next year I am confident we can better tackle anti-social behaviour in our communities.”