Monday 19 August 2019

10,000 arrests in burglary crackdown

ALMOST 10,000 people have been arrested in just over two years since gardai launched an operation against organised burglary gangs.

a total of 5,801 people have been charged in 27 months since Operation Fiacla began.

The garda operation was launched in April 2012 in an effort to clamp down on travelling gangs of criminals responsible for an 8pc increase in burglaries at the time.

Since then thousands of criminals have been identified under the operation, which has proved controversial with some gardai because it was not allocated extra resources.

Fianna Fail justice spokesman Niall Collins received figures, accurate up to this July, after he submitted a parliamentary question to Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

He also asked for information about the resources allocated to Fiacla, however, Ms Fitzgerald said that she had requested a report from gardai and would release it as soon as it was to hand.

A total of 9,992 people have been arrested since the probe began.

"Since Operation Fiacla commenced, significant inroads have been made into targeting those involved in burglary," she said.

In many instances, gardai were operating against criminals who were using the country's motorway network and travelling long distances to steal from homes nationwide.

Some of the gangs involved used high-powered cars to make their escape from gardai.

The operation came in for some criticism from gardai, after it emerged that no extra resources had been assigned to the operation.

The Herald revealed how several gardai claimed that the much-publicised Operation Fiacla was "all about massaging figures".

"No money was allocated to An Garda Siochana for Operation Fiacla. It is just a PR stunt to get the politicians and journalists off their backs," a source said at the time.

However, then justice minister Alan Shatter denied that it was a "campaign of spin".


Meanwhile, gardai have revealed that more than 60,000 text messages were sent during the first year of the new crime prevention text-alert system.

The texts, alerting people to potential criminal activity in their local area, have been sent to individuals and communities across the country.

There are now 450 text alert groups in towns and villages with more than 80,000 people signing-up to the scheme.

Under the scheme, a person can report an incident to gardai, an officer will confirm the incident and then issue a text alert to a designated community contact for the area.

That contact can then forward the message to the rest of the community.


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