Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Questions (420)

James Bannon

Question:

420. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to the recent incidents of break-ins in Edgeworthstown, County Longford, the discussions he has had with the superintendent on the matter and the action being taken to address the problem by way of additional gardaí; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15246/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am, of course, aware of concerns in the community, including Edgeworthstown, about the incidence of crime, and of burglary in particular. These crimes cause deep distress to householders and have a broader impact in terms of fear of crime in the community.

Garda Operation Fiacla remains in force nationally and specific burglary initiatives continue to be implemented in each Garda Region to target suspected offenders. Operation Fiacla has proven to be a robust and effective response to burglary offences and this is borne out by the latest crime statistics published by the Central Statistics Office which show that the rate of burglary has decreased by 7.2% nationally for twelve months ending 31 December 2013. Garda actions to counteract burglary under Operation Fiacla have led to the arrest of 8,344 persons with 4,755 persons being charged as of 28 February 2014 and this underlines the impact being made by Gardaí under the operation.

In so far as the area referred to the Deputy is concerned, as part of the measures which are co-ordinated under Operation Fiacla, Operation Aimsir is in force throughout the Western Region, including Edgeworthstown. It is an intelligence driven operation and includes analysis led policing and patrols to target specific areas and case manage targeted offenders. These arrangements are kept under review and local Garda management closely monitor all trends in the incidence of burglary, with adjustments being made on an ongoing basis to maintain the effective focus of the operation.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of all personnel among the Garda Regions, Divisions, and Districts. Garda management keep this distribution under continuing review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the best possible use is made of these resources.

However, I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the personnel strength of the Roscommon/Longford Division on 31 January 2014, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 286. There is also 20 Garda Reserves and 24 Civilians attached to the Roscommon/Longford Division.

The needs of the Roscommon/Longford Division will be fully considered in the next allocation of probationer Gardaí by the Garda Commissioner. It is envisaged that the first batch of new recruits will enter the training college in Templemore later this year and that they will be attested and assigned to Garda stations in early 2015.

Questions Nos. 421 to 433, inclusive, answered with Question No. 413.