Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Justice Niall Collins has said the clear message for the Government from the latest crime statistics is that more resources and new investment is needed in frontline policing.
Figures from the Central Statistics Office show that in the 12 months to the end of March homicide offences are up 22.5%, murder threats are up by 29% and aggravated burglary offences rose by 19.5%.
Deputy Collins said: “The latest figures from the CSO underscore the need for more investment in frontline policing. I know there have been many headings under which crime has fallen, and this is very welcome, but the rise in certain violent crimes is a major concern. There were 65 recorded murder and manslaughter offences in the year and aggravated burglaries rose by almost a fifth.
“In the last three years Fine Gael and Labour have been undermining frontline policing, cutting garda resources, presiding over a garda fleet that’s not fit for purpose and allowing morale in the force to slip to an all-time low. The Garda ranks need a boost. The Government needs to recognise that getting more for less only goes so far and that it is time for new investment in the Gardaí.
“The recruitment of new gardaí is welcome but there have been very clear warnings coming from garda representatives and most recently the head of the Garda Inspectorate about the resources officers have. Technology, equipment and the garda vehicles all need to be upgraded.
“I welcome the fact that nationally burglaries are down but there are parts of the country that have seen major increases in break-ins. I believe there is a lot of anecdotal evidence of many burglaries not being reported. One of the more worrying figures from today’s CSO report is the 20% rise in aggravated burglaries. This will worry a lot of communities, particularly where older people live alone and can feel quite isolated and vulnerable. In many cases it is these communities that have suffered most under Fine Gael and Labour. Gardaí are now travelling further distances which leaves a lot of areas vulnerable to criminals.
“The Government needs to look seriously at its priorities. Expanding frontline policing and improving garda resources will go a long way towards boosting garda morale, increasing public confidence and reducing crime rates.”