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Drug searches in south of the city increased by 24pc

THE number of drug searches in the south central area of the city has increased by 24pc for the first nine months of the year.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has released provisional updated statistics for Operation Spire - a garda initiative aimed at cleaning up Dublin's main thoroughfare.

While the number of drugs searches in Pearse Street division was up by almost one-quarter, the number in the north central Store Street area was up by 5pc.

Ms Fitzgerald was responding to questions from Fianna Fail justice spokesman Niall Collins, who said that Tanaiste Joan Burton was in denial about anti-social behaviour when she spoke about it a number of weeks ago.

Ms Fitzgerald did not release specific figures for the number of searches, while the Central Statistics Office (CSO) has said it may have to delay the publication of quarterly crime data because of its concern about the "statistical implications" of last week's Garda Inspectorate report.

The report found that crimes were under-recorded and detection rates were lower than that stated by the force.

CRIME

According to the latest available statistics on Dublin's O'Connell Street, there were 3,000 recorded incidents of anti-social behaviour in six weeks between late January and March.

Ms Fitzgerald said she was conscious of the perspectives of business and community interests with regard to the effects of certain types of crime and anti-social behaviour.

"It is an absolute priority that we get that environment right," she said.

She said it was widely acknowledged that the challenges have their origin in a range of social phenomena, including drugs and homelessness.

"Dealing with these matters requires a very co-ordinated approach from state agencies involved in social, housing, health and drug treatment services, as well as partnership with business, community and voluntary groups," she said.

The minister said that since June 2013 the gardai have had a city centre policing plan, which they are working to.

hnews@herald.ie


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