Just seven alleged offences were detected during a one-day Garda operation last month targeting anti-social activity on Dart, Luas and eight intercity rail routes around the country, newly disclosed figures reveal.
Operation Twin Track was focused mainly on Dublin commuter lines, but also rail services between the capital and Cork, Limerick, the midlands, Sligo, Galway and Dundalk as well as between Cork and Tralee.
Figures released by the Garda Press Office show that on the day — July 29th — incidents recorded on the Garda Pulse system in relation to the operation included one robbery at Ranelagh Luas stop, a single incident of anti-social behaviour at Pelletstown train station and one case of drunkenness at Malahide, all in Dublin.
There was also a “detection” of begging at Connolly train station.
Outside the capital, there was one incident of drunkenness at Templemore train station in Co Tipperary and two incidents of possession of drugs at Longford Town train station.
Last week, The Irish Times revealed only 65 criminal charges have been brought through a separate Garda operation — Operation Saul — targeting anti-social behaviour on Luas, Dart and bus services since the start of the year.
This was despite thousands of incidents linked to anti-social behaviour on public transport being logged on the Garda Pulse system.
In relation to the one-day Operation Twin Track, which ran between 3pm and 11pm on a Friday, the Garda said 55 “proactive patrols took place across the national rail network”.
“Dublin was the main focus of Operation Twin Track as the vast majority of complaints of public order and safety on the rail network have been in the capital city,” said a Garda spokesman.
“Members of An Garda Síochána patrolled Connolly station, the northern Dart line as far as Howth Junction and Kilbarrack. They were also accompanied by two members (from the Garda dog unit). An Garda Síochána had a presence in the control room of Irish Rail at Connolly station and also in the Luas control room at the Red Cow roundabout. Members of An Garda Síochána patrolled the Southern Dart line from Tara Street station to Blackrock and patrolled Pearse Street and Tara Street stations in the city centre. Gardaí also patrolled the Luas lines focusing on the Red Line.”
Nationally, 44 train stations were “actively patrolled during the course of the operation” and “no further offences were detected”, said the spokesman. The Department of Justice disclosed that between the end of January and the end of June this year, 3,061 incidents associated with Operation Saul were recorded on the pulse system.
Of these, 2,979 were classified as non-crime and 82 were crimes which are either under active investigation or have resulted in the accused person appearing before the criminal courts.
A total of 65 charges have been preferred under the operation so far, as well as a small number of adult cautions and juvenile referrals.
Last month, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said the ongoing debate about whether a dedicated transport police unit is needed was a matter for Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee.
“I am given to understand that the views of An Garda Síochána are that effective local community policing can meet the policing needs of the public transport network and that the Garda authorities do not propose to establish a specialist or dedicated transport policing unit at this time,” he said, in response to a parliamentary question.
Ms McEntee said gardaí involved with Operation Saul deal with public-order issues through a “zero-tolerance approach”.