Prior to the introduction of the new Garda false alarm policy in September 1992, approximately 94 per cent of the well over 250,000 alarm activations notified to the gardaí annually were false. Responding to these calls involved a very substantial waste of Garda time and resources and it diverted those resources away from genuine alarm calls and other calls for Garda assistance. The new policy, which includes the withdrawal of Garda response from monitored alarm systems which show a consistently unacceptable level of false activations, has the aim of getting the owners of premises to take the remedial action necessary to improve the operation of their system.
I understand from the Garda authorities that, since the introduction of the policy, the number of false calls in the Dublin Metropolitan Area, where the problem was at its greatest, has fallen from a monthly average of 12,880 to 8,033. This has occurred despite the fact that there has been a substantial increase in new alarm installations during the same period. It is expected that the success already experienced in the Dublin area will be mirrored in rural Divisions within a reasonable time. While of course there exists room for further improvement, I am satisfied that the problem is being brought under control and that the situation, which had been deteriorating for some time, has now been reversed. The policy is being kept under on-going review and I will examine carefully any further proposals the Garda authorities might put to me in this regard.