Rise in use of firearms and tasers by gardaí during Covid-19 lockdown

Gardaí used tasers 10 times in the second three months of the year to June

Garda use of firearms and stun-guns increased significantly during the Covid-19 lockdown. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty

Garda use of firearms and stun-guns increased significantly during the Covid-19 lockdown. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty

 

The Garda use of firearms and stun-guns increased significantly during the Covid-19 lockdown period.

While the use of batons and pepper remained steady following the imposition of lockdown measures in mid-March, the use of guns and Tasers increased.

The proportion of instances of use of force which occurred inside houses also increased, from 12 per cent in the first quarter of the year to 23 per cent in quarter two.

In the first three months of the year gardaí used Tasers, non-lethal electrical stun guns, just once. In the second three months, when lockdown measures were fully in effect, they used them 10 times.

The use of firearms increased from one instance in quarter one to six in quarter two. This includes four uses of the “40mm launcher”, which fires a less-than-lethal foam bullet at high velocity, and one instance where a garda firearm was fired. It also includes one instance where a firearm was drawn but not used.

There were 234 uses of pepper spray in quarter two of 2020, down eight from the first quarter. There were also 70 uses of the Asp extendable baton, down eight compared to quarter one.

There was no significant change in the use of force by Garda division, the report states.