Half of serving gardai want to carry firearms

 

More than half of serving gardaí believes uniformed officers should carry firearms, according to a new online poll.

The survey which was conducted by Garda Review,  the official magazine of the Garda Representative Association, reveals that 53 per cent of respondents said that they felt uniformed gardaí should be routinely armed.

A breakdown of respondents voting patterns indicates that detectives were generally against the arming of officers while a majority of student gardaí were in favour.

According to Garda Review, the poll results shows that a cultural shift is taking place inside the force, one which belies the perception that Gardai don’t want to carry firearms.

One member of a regular unit who voted in favour of allowing uniformed officers to carry guns said: “We have been lucky so far. It’s only a matter of time before a uniformed member is killed. The criminal fraternity have access to the most sophisticated weapons, it’s about time we had a level playing field.”

While a significant number of serving members are not in favour of uniformed officers carrying firearms, many of those who voted against it expressed a desire for more – and more visible – armed response units.

Some of those who voted against the idea of arming uniformed officers said they didn’t believe that it would improve the safety of members of the public and that firearms could be used against gardaí.

Others questioned whether money and resources would be better allocated to other areas with a number of officers saying they would rather have working radio communications and pepper spray in preference to firearms.