More than 12 gardaí sustain injuries on the job each week

GRA calls for all frontline officers to be given Tasers

Members of the Garda at a checkpoint in  Dublin. The GRA says many of its  members may not report assaults on them. Photograph:  Gareth Chaney/Collins

Members of the Garda at a checkpoint in Dublin. The GRA says many of its members may not report assaults on them. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

The Garda Representative Association has called for Tasers to be given to all frontline gardaí after new figures showed that a dozen officers were injured in the line of duty each week last year.

A total of 635 gardaí were injured while working last year, a decrease of 29 on the figure for 2016 but marginally more than the 630 hurt in 2015, according to figures released in response to a parliamentary question from Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan.

The association said 181 gardaí had been injured while working so far this year.

“The figures are stark, but only present part of the story as many of our members may not report assaults on them for a variety of reasons,” the association’s spokesman John O’Keeffe said.

He said more than 6,000 gardaí had been recorded as injured in the course of duty in the past 12 years and claimed that many more cases went unrecorded – “perhaps twice that figure”.

Mr O’Keeffe said members of the force should be provided with Tasers as the “truth is that our members simply do not have the physical supports to do their job – and we know this impacts hugely on their mental wellbeing”.

“Similarly, body-cams are a vital tool in ensuring that incidents are captured for all parties concerned and our members’ mental health is thus protected,” he added.

Annual conference

Research on the physical and mental wellbeing of rank-and-file members of the force will be presented next week at the association’s annual conference in Wexford.

The existing 24/7 counselling service for gardaí is welcome, Mr O’Keeffe said, but “unfortunately it operates as merely a band aid to a much bigger wound”.

In response to Mr Durkan’s question, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said “the difficulties and dangers” faced daily by gardaí as they “face down criminals in dangerous circumstances” should never be under-estimated.

“I am assured by the Garda Commissioner that An Garda Síochána is committed to ensuring that members exposed to a traumatic incident or injured on duty receive the appropriate organisational response.”