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Government to bring forward proposals for a dedicated transport police, says Martin

It’s envisaged the initiative will begin with Dublin and expand to other cities.

MICHEÁL MARTIN WANTS to push forward with plans for a dedicated transport police to be established. 

Speaking at the Fianna Fáil party Ard Fheis in Dublin last night, the Tánaiste said:

“Crime and anti-social behaviour can be a particular problem on public transport, and we believe a targeted approach is needed.”

He said work is underway to recruit more gardaí, stating that the government is also committed to bring forward proposals for a dedicated transport police for public transport services.

Dedicated Garda unit 

It is understood that government believes a dedicated Transport Garda Unit solely responsible for transport policing is now necessary, which will specifically deal with anti-social behaviour.

A senior source said everyone in government has heard the “horror stories” people have experienced on public transport, stating that a Garda transport police presence “should be there as a deterrent”. 

It is the view that other major capital cities such as London, Berlin, Paris and Prague have dedicated transport policing units, and Dublin should also. 

It is envisaged that the initiative would start with the capital, and then would be expanded to other Irish cities, such as Cork.

Government has struggled to meet is Garda recruitment targets in the last year, but due to expanding out the age limit in which applicants can apply, the latest recruitment drives have seen thousands apply to join the force.

In February, Siptu published a survey which found four out of five public transport workers have experienced abuse during the course of their work, and reiterated their call for a dedicated transport police.

Passengers refusing to pay, spitting on drivers and sexual assault are among the problems drivers have to deal with, with one driver telling The Journal she once had a brick thrown through the window of the bus she was driving.

Public transport have also reported seeing an increase in violence and anti-social behaviour towards other passengers. 

Siptu has been calling for dedicated public transport police for decades, but the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has shot down the idea in the past.

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