• JPC

Doyle queries whether Garda changes will impact on knife crime policing

Councillor Maria Doyle
Councillor Maria Doyle, photographed in March 2020. Photo Credit: Kathy Gilroy-Barry.

Gardai will remain proactive in conducting street level searches in relation to drug dealing and possession of dangerous weapons, regardless of the new Operating Model due to come into effect in Louth towards the end of the year.

The question about whether the Garda restructuring could help tackle knife crime in the county was posed to Garda Commissioner Drew Harris by Fine Gael councillor for Dundalk South Maria Doyle at last Friday’s meeting of the combined Joint Policing Committees.

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Cllr Doyle asked whether or not the new model would help tackle knife crime in the region. Notably, Japanese national Yosuke Sasaki was murdered in Dundalk in January 2018 and there have been other high profile incidents involving knives and larger weapons such as swords.

“We don’t want to get to a situation where it is out of control like it seems to be in other jurisdictions. It is very serious,” Cllr Doyle said.

In response, Harris said, “We are proactive out in the streets. We conduct search-type operations. We’ve never had a policy of not doing street level searches. That is a very active policy.

There are are concerns about the speed of justice [but] we are at a considerable advantage to the neighbouring jurisdictions (England and Wales) in terms of the speed of our courts.”

Commissioner Harris said if there was a localised issue in regards to knife crime, he would expect his senior Gardai in the division to “be aware and it would be up to them to a have local plan to deal with it. This is about being responsive to policing issues.”

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