Geographic breakdown shows severity of knife seizures – Richmond

Dedicated local approaches needed to tackle growing problem

19th September 2021 - Neale Richmond, TD

A Fine Gael TD has called for dedicated, local approaches to tackle the worsening scourge of knife crime.

 

New figures released to Dublin Rathdown’s Neale Richmond, show the worrying level of knife seizures in every County.

 

“We have seen a steady uptick in the amount of knives being seized annually by the Gardai as well as the amount of crimes involving a knife and sadly an increase in hospitalizations due to knives.

 

“Sadly, too many of us our familiar with a number of, high profile murders at the end of a knife.

 

“Statistics released to me by the Department of Justice via Parliamentary Question make for alarming reading as we see every County and policing division in Ireland dealing with a steady increase in knife seizures.

 

“The amount of knives seized in Dublin North Central in 2020 (201) are twice what they were in 2016 (98) with figures of 114 seizures already in 2021 proving equally as troubling.

 

The rate of seizures in Dublin South Central stood at 257 in 2020 compared to 128 in 2016, following a year on year trend in increases. Indeed, in my own division we sadly see more than double the amount of knives seized in 2020 (74) compared to 2016 (35) as well.

 

“Across Ireland, knife seizures are increasing with 172 knives seized in Cork City in 2020 compared to just 66 knives seized in 2016, nearly a threefold increase. Donegal saw 46 knives seized in 2020 compared to just 17 in 2016; Tipperary saw 57 knives seized in 2020 compared to just 24 in 2020; Kildare saw 72 knives seized in 2020 compared to just 32 in 2016. More knives have already been seized in Laois/Offaly (44) so far in 2021 compared to all of 2016 (35).

 

“The volume of knife seizures in certain parts of the country need to be countered by increased levels of high visibility policing as well as prioritization and escalation of new measures to counter knife crime.

 

“These measures must follow the Scottish model which approached knife crime as much as a public health issue as a criminal justice matter. Early intervention schemes, employment, training opportunities, knife amnesties and youth diversion programmes are all key to this.

 

“This geographic breakdown of seizures brings home the true severity of our problem with knives in this country. We cannot wait any longer for action.”

Editor’s Note: please find below a regional breakdown of knife seizures as provided to Deputy Richmond based on his Parliamentary Question.

Deputy Richmond is available for comment: 0867814514

 

______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 09/09/2021
Question Number(s): 892 Question Reference(s): 41925/21
Department: Justice
Asked by: Neale Richmond T.D.
______________________________________________

QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Justice the number of knives seized from 2016 to date in 2021, by county; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY

The Government is very conscious of the dangers presented by knife crime, and indeed all violent assaults. Clearly any stabbing has the potential to cause irreparable physical harm and tragic consequences and the Government is determined to ensure that similar problems to those which have developed in neighbouring jurisdictions do not develop here in Ireland.

There is a comprehensive and robust legal framework in place with respect to knife crime, including heavy penalties for breaches of the laws concerned. Under the provisions of the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, the maximum penalty for a conviction for possessing a knife in a public place without good reason or lawful authority was increased from one to five years. An Garda Síochána also has an extended power of search without warrant for knives and offensive weapons and Gardaí have secured a substantial number of convictions in the Courts in recent years for possession of a knife or other weapon. That said, the Department will continue to keep sentencing policy under ongoing review and will review existing Garda powers in relation to dangerous weapons, including knives, to ensure they have the necessary legal tools to protect our communities.

I am advised by the Garda authorities that the following are the statistics, as of 16 August 2021, for the numbers of knives seized by Garda Division in each of the years 2016 to 2021.

Region  Division  2016  2017  2018  2019  2020  2021
Dublin Region D.M.R Eastern 35 31 66 77  74  29
Dublin Region D.M.R Western 100 120 169 194 184 99
Dublin Region D.M.R  Northern 86 112 184 169 147 77
Dublin Region D.M.R Southern 95 72 96 129 134 68
Dublin Region D.M.R North Central  98  168  189  185  201  103
Dublin Region D.M.R South Central 128 175 195 207 257  114
Eastern Region (New) Meath Div 26 47 49 53 65 31
 Eastern Region (New) Kildare Div 32 46 64 52 72 28
 Eastern Region (New) Wexford Div 27  37 36 48 43 23
 Eastern Region (New) Wicklow Div 31  24 29 24 41 14
 Eastern Region (New) Laois/ Offaly 35  49 71 47 59 44
 Eastern Region (New) Waterford Div 49  50 66  49 73 46
 Eastern Region (New) Westmeath Div 21  20 23 45 25 12
 Eastern Region (New) Kilkenny/ Carlow 18  27 32 35 44 23
North Western Region Mayo 16 18 25 48 34 17
North Western Region Donegal 17 31 28 43 46 28
North Western Region Louth Div 47  59 88 109 77 35
North Western Region Galway Div 42  76  49 89  84 44
 North Western Region Sligo/Leitrim 21  43  42  39  50  18
North Western Region Cavan/ Monaghan 27  21  29  53  63  22
North Western Region Roscommon/ Longford 26  23 38  69  31  16
Southern Region (New)  Clare 15  35 37  28  39  26
 Southern Region (New)  Kerry 26  25 39  37  28  24
 Southern Region (New)  Limerick 67  102 86  74  86  61
 Southern Region (New)  Cork City 66  97  101  121  172  77
 Southern Region (New)  Cork West 7  13 26  16  5  20
 Southern Region (New)  Tipperary 24  44 35  47  57  21
 Southern Region (New)  Cork North 20  49 41  56 47  23
 Total    1202 1614 1933  2143 2248 1143 

The Deputy will appreciate that these statistics are based upon operational data from the PULSE system as was available on 16 August 2021 and are liable to change.

I am further informed by the Garda authorities that the 2016-2018 increase in recorded seizures is due in large part to the introduction of the Property and Exhibit Management System (PEMS) which improved the level of recording of all objects seized, including knives.

More recently, the increases in seizures are also due to proactive policing operations, particularly during 2020 with the increased Garda presence due to the COVID-19 public health response. There was a 4.7% increase in the number of knives seized between 2019-2020 (2,143 in 2019 and 2,248 in 2020). There was also a substantial year-on-year increase in the number of searches conducted in 2020 – many of which were associated with An Garda Síochána’s high visibility operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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