Sir, There is little glamour in the hard slog of a lifetime of preventive beats and patrols. Therein lies the cutting edge of the Garda vocational plough. Sgt George, Maybury (February 1st) seems to categorise crime prevention as merely one of the services of police, rather than the raison d'etre of the Garda Siochana. AGSI represents many fine crime prevention officers.

Will Sgt Maybury not include as crime prevention personnel, not just a section of his own members assigned as CPOs to advise on the security of premises and cash in transit, but every single man and woman in the force, in all ranks, irrespective of their employment? Of course, a crime free society is a utopian dream. But the force is challenged to contain the evil of lawlessness, by harnessing all its energies to achieve the highest possible profile on beats and patrols. The soft option of getting, gardai out of offices does not meet the need for radical reform. A case can be made for drastically curtailing the numbers assigned to routine detective duties, as an earnest of firm intention to recover the initiative from the criminal.

One last word. (I have no more wish than Sgt Maybury to prolong this correspondence.) Close on half a century ago Deputy Commr W.R.E. Murphy, in charge of the Dublin Metropolitan Division, analysed the probable consequences of a Government decision to suspend recruiting, based on his own experience and discussions with police officers in other, countries.

"The inhabitants of a city are not so much concerned with the efficiency of their police as, reflected in the percentage of crimes detected." They looked to the police for living conditions free from disorder, rowdyism, damage to property and the abuses and nuisances which so quickly arise in a city when effective police control is lacking. Such control is exercised by the beat and patrol police."

Deputy Commr Murphy, prophetically, feared that loss of manpower already occurring due to retirements, with no replacements, would "lead to the complete breakdown of the beat and patrol system" resulting in complaints from the public of police inefficiency." - Yours, etc.

Upper Kilmacud Road,


Co Dublin.