Record level of street violence to be tackled by Garda initiative

Extra resources and ‘pro-arrest’ approach planned to combat emerging attack culture

Assaults causing harm are  now at unprecedented levels. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Assaults causing harm are now at unprecedented levels. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Extra gardaí are to be deployed to assault hot spots amid concerns over an emerging street attack culture.

Certain areas are set to be targeted with additional high-visibility patrols and surveillance, Garda sources said. Much of the street violence is taking place in Dublin, although flashpoints have also been identified in other towns and cities.

Garda Headquarters said the new operation would be “pro-arrest” and would involve swift action against attackers. Gardaí will also work with publicans and others in a bid to tackle the violence.

The number of assaults in public places has reached a record high in recent months, and assaults causing harm are also now at unprecedented levels. The new Garda operation will focus on preventing both assaults and stabbings, although gardaí say knife attacks are much less frequent.

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Disposable incomes

Garda management believes the upward trend is being driven by the increased consumption of alcohol and drugs as disposable incomes have recovered since the recession years.

An internal Garda analysis unit has conducted a “deep dive” into assault trends nationally and identified “assault hot spots” in cities and towns across the State.

This information has now been supplied to chief superintendents nationwide to inform the Garda’s new strategy to reduce public assaults, which will be launched in the very near future.

Greater emphasis would now be put on the early investigation of reports of assault. Cases where gardaí had intervened and arrested a suspect at the scene would also be prioritised for swift investigation.

“As part of this operation, An Garda Síochána will be working locally with relevant stakeholders such as vintners, local authorities and non-government organisations to reduce assaults,” a statement read.