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14 murders prevented and €20m drugs seized as 340 gardai back on front line

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Members of the Armed Support Unit responded to 4,390 ‘higher risk spontaneous incidents’

Members of the Armed Support Unit responded to 4,390 ‘higher risk spontaneous incidents’

Members of the Armed Support Unit responded to 4,390 ‘higher risk spontaneous incidents’

The seizure of €20m worth of drugs and the prevention of 14 murders have been highlighted in the latest An Garda Síochána annual report.

The 2019 report was published yesterday and showed a new operating model that Commissioner Drew Harris said gives more resources to growing garda divisions and increased garda visibility in communities.

More than 340 gardaí were reassigned to frontline duties, and the report says there are now more personnel than at any time in the force's history, with 14,307 members.

A regular public attitudes survey showed that, in the third quarter of last year, there was 92pc public trust in An Garda Síochána, the highest level in the past five years.

Armed

Under the heading of National Security & Intelligence, the report says the Armed Support Unit (ASU) responded to 4,390 "higher-risk spontaneous incidents".

Ninety-eight hostage/barricade/suicide incidents were dealt with and 11 people were convicted before the Special Criminal court and higher courts.

More than 300 refugees were security-screened by Special Detective Unit (SDU) personnel under the Government's Irish Refugee Resettlement Programme.

The report says there were 4,113 scene of crime case files and 923 crime scene identifications made.

The Garda Information Services Centre (GISC) received 763,000 calls and created 877,000 incidents on the Pulse system.

Cannabis herb made up the majority of the drug seizures in money terms with a value of more than €9m, followed by cocaine at €7.3m and cannabis plants at €6.8m.

While the assessment of the Policing Plan shows much has been achieved, the force also recognises it has more to do.

A list of goals not yet achieved includes areas such as regional cyber-crime units, Tusla information sharing, hate-crime policy, missing person status and human rights of the vulnerable.

Under the Internal Affairs heading, the report notes that during 2019, a total of 1,632 files were opened for dealing with discipline and complaints.

Twenty-four new suspensions were effected, resulting in 48 gardaí suspended at the end of last December.

A total 149 new compensation files were opened in respect of gardaí maliciously injured while on duty.

Ten cases were closed and 81 cases were awarded compensation in the High Court totalling €3,668,446.

A detailed analysis of statistics in the report shows that the 2016-2018 average for incidents of burglary was 1,485 a month while the 2019 average was 1,370.

In relation to robberies, the 2016-2018 average was 187 incidents a month while last year it was 195.

The incidents of assault average for 2016-2018 was 1,519 a month, and for 2019 it was 1,757.

Recorded incidents of sexual crime averaged 243 a month for 2016-2018 while last year's average was 278.

Dedication

A note on the report says the introduction of a new Pulse recording system in February 2018 means detections data from before and after the upgrade should not be compared.

"The dedication and determination of garda personnel to keeping people safe is evident throughout this report from significant drug seizures, ongoing reductions in burglaries, crime-prevention initiatives and daily community engagement," Commissioner Harris said.

The overall financial position of the force at the end of last December showed a total net expenditure of €1,669m, €3m less than the revised annual budget of €1,672m, which included a supplementary estimate of €18m.


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