Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Robbery Statistics.

140.

andMr. Timmins asked the Minister for Justice (a) the number of bank robberies since 31st March, 1970, to the latest date for which figures are available; (b) the number of cases in which arrests have been made; (c) the total number of plain-clothes gardaí involved in an effort to apprehend those responsible for such robberies; and (d) the total amount of money involved.

142.

andMr. Timmins asked the Minister for Justice (a) the total number of armed robberies since 31st March, 1970, to the latest date for which figures are available; (b) the number of cases in which arrests have been made and (c) the total amount of money involved.

149.

asked the Minister for Justice the total number of armed robberies in the Republic during the past 12 months and if specific, detailed directions have been issued to all Garda stations concerning such occurrences.

With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 140, 142 and 149 together.

In the period from 31st March, 1970, to 21st October, 1971, a total of 45 armed robberies were committed, 37 of them since 1st November, 1970. Eight of the robberies were on bank premises. In the same period there was one bank robbery that was not an armed robbery.

The total amount of money and the value of property reported to the Garda as having been taken in the robberies was £67,311, of which £33,320 was money reported as taken in the bank robberies. Arrests were made in 12 cases, one case being an armed bank robbery.

It would not be in the public interest to give details of the number of gardaí detailed to give specific attention to these crimes. Both general instructions and specific instructions where it appeared that these might be necessary or useful have been issued from time to time by the commissioner in relation to them.

Can the Minister say if there is a set formal document available at each Garda station for the information of the district superintendent, inspector and sergeant relating to the procedure they are to follow immediately following a bank robbery? I am under the impression that such a document is not available but, of course, I realise that the question of security arises in this matter.

That is a separate question.

Any experienced police officer knows what to do when a crime has been committed and he does not need any set document. I am not saying there are not any documents on this particular matter but any police officer would know what action to take.

I would not accept that. There are views that conflict with those of the Minister.

Would the Minister not agree that the reason for so many bank robberies is because manpower in the Garda force has been allowed to decrease during the past few years and also that the gardai have equipment that is neither suitable nor adequate? The cars which gardai in some areas must use are a disgrace. Also, would the Minister not agree, following three robberies, that within the past few months Garda cars broke down while gardaí were trying to apprehend the culprits? The majority of Garda cars are more often in the garage than anywhere else.

This matter arises on a later question.

Have not the reasons I have given been responsible for the spate of bank robberies that have taken place?

There are questions for answer later to-day on all these topics. There has been a very considerable increase this year in the provision of cars and the amount provided in the Estimate is nearly double——

The Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries might exchange their cars for a while for those of the Garda.

141.

(Cavan) asked the Minister for Justice the number of robberies involving substantial sums of money which were carried out in the State in each of the years commencing 1st January, 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1971 to date; and how many persons have been apprehended and brought before the courts in respect of these robberies.

The relevant statistics, in so far as they are available, are contained in the annual Reports of the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána on Crime. Copies of the reports are in the Library. The report for the year ended 30th September, 1971, has not yet been published.