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Association of Garda Superintendents backs call for more armed support units

The Association of Garda Superintendents is calling for more armed support units (ASUs) to back u...
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

20.01 8 May 2019


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Association of Garda Superinte...

Association of Garda Superintendents backs call for more armed support units

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

20.01 8 May 2019


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The Association of Garda Superintendents is calling for more armed support units (ASUs) to back up unarmed officers.

It follows a recent call by rank and file members of the force for 24-hour armed support in every Garda division.

Speaking at the Association of Garda Superintendents' annual conference, the group's president - Superintendent Noel Cunningham - said the presence of armed units would reduce response times and deescalate serious situations.

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He explained: "The armed response units are highly-trained individuals, and they bring a lot to a situation - obviously they bring a lethal response, but they also bring a non-lethal armed response.

"They bring much more than that. They bring negotiations skills to a scene, and by their very presence they can deescalate a situation."

Superintendent Cunningham acknowledged the high-level of support among the public for gardaí is likely because regular uniformed gardaí are unarmed.

However, he argued: "You also need a second line of defence.

"We're not saying to arm every garda - we don't want that. What we're saying is that the professional support services available to us from the [armed support units] should be more widely available to all members."

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has previously said there is scope for the expansion of armed-support units.

He stressed he would be "concerned" at attempts to ensure that the arming of the gardaí becomes commonplace, but suggested there's "merit in ensuring that at a regional level there can be an armed response".

Main image: File photo of Garda armed support unit. Picture by Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

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