Concern raised over falling detective numbers within the gardaí

Fianna Fáil spokesperson on justice Jim O'Callaghan says it is "simply inexcusable" that detective numbers are dropping as gangland crime increases

Concern raised over falling detective numbers within the gardaí

File photo Jim O'Callaghan, Fianna Fáil spokesperson on justice, 19/4/2016. Image: RollingNews

Concern has been raised over the falling number of detectives within an Garda Síochána as the force continues to combat a rise in organised crime in major cities.

Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on justice, Jim O’Callaghan said that according to information obtained through a Parliamentary Question the “number of detectives assigned to An Garda Síochána continues to decrease despite a high level of undetected and unreported crime in some areas.”

“In October just passed, there were just 804 detectives in the force, an 11% drop since May 2015 when there were almost 100 more detectives on the streets,” said Deputy O’Callaghan.

“The decreases throughout divisions appear to have accelerated in 2016, with 70 detective positions being lost since last May.”

The most recent CSO garda recorded crime statistics - recorded in 2014 and released last month - have shown a drop in crime detection rates across a number of categories when compared with 2010.

Some of the sharpest falls were recorded in serious crime categories including sexual offences - down 18% - weapons and explosives offences - down 40% - controlled drug offences - down 20% - and homicide offences - down 10%.

Deputy O’Callaghan said Dublin has “taken a dramatic hit” in garda detective numbers with a 15% drop over the past 18 months while its western division - which includes  Tallaght and Clondalkin – is down 20%.

“It is simply inexcusable given the outbreak of violent gangland crime in our capital city, we do not have a greater number of detectives working across divisions to protect our communities,” he said.

Deputy O’Callaghan has urged the Minister for Justice to “increase the number of detectives on our streets” across the country.

“While all Gardaí play a crucial role in the detection and prevention of crime, communities affected by serious and often organised crime require the support of specialist detectives,” he said.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice said garda detective numbers are an operational matter for an Garda Síochána with the force responsible for the distribution of resources provided through the department’s Policing Division.

A garda spokesperson said personnel assignments are continually monitored and reviewed based on “factors including population, crime trends and as the policing needs of each individual division dictates.”

“Such monitoring ensures that optimum use is made of Garda resources, and the best possible Garda service is provided to the general public,” he said.