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Dublin: 13°C Monday 21 September 2020

Should Dublin have its own transport police?

Senior gardaí don’t think so.

Image: RollingNews.ie

ON SUNDAY EVENING, a fight broke out on a Dart heading from Monkstown and Salthill to Dublin city.

The train was delayed as gardaí were called to the scene, finally departing 30 minutes late.

The brawl, and other incidents of anti-social behaviour, have led to calls for a dedicated unit of the gardaí to police Dublin’s transport network.

Fianna Fáil councillor for Dun Laoghaire Cormac Devlin says that the unit is needed to make routes safer for passengers.

“This disturbance should serve as a wake-up call for policy-makers. This is not the first disturbance on the DART service this year.

“We regularly hear reports about the public feeling unsafe on the service, particularly at night time.”

Police digital radio working in all tube stations British Transport Police officers patrolling the London Underground. Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Devlin says that while there is security on Irish Rail, he wants to see a force similar to that seen on London’s tube network.

“While Irish Rail employ dedicated security, these staff do not have power of arrest or the other powers enjoyed by gardaí.

The very presence of uniformed officers would prevent many minor issues occurring and would ensure more serious issues could be dealt with more quickly.

However the agencies involved are unwilling to see a garda unit dedicated solely to transport.

A spokesperson for the gardaí said that the allocation of services is constantly monitored.

“Local Garda Management closely monitors the allocation of all resources in the context of crime trends, policing needs and other operational strategies in place on a District, Divisional and Regional level, to ensure optimum use is made of Garda resources, and the best possible Garda service is provided to the public.

Senior Garda Management is satisfied that a full and comprehensive policing service continues to be delivered and that current structures in place meet the requirement to deliver an effective and efficient policing service to the community.

The Department of Justice said that allocation of gardaí is a matter for the Garda Commissioner and that it was happy with the communication between gardaí and transport providers.

“There is effective communication with the respective control centres and access to good quality CCTV to provide assistance in the investigation of complaints.

“Instances of crime and anti-social behaviour are monitored by local Garda management with the assistance of Garda Síochána Analysis Service, which results in periodic operations aimed at anti-social behaviour on and around public transport routes.”

“Insofar as the general approach to tackling these issues are concerned, the Minister is advised that Garda management engages extensively with transport operators and a range of regional and local operations have been put in place as required to address issues that have arisen at specific locations,” a spokesperson said.

“There is effective communication with the respective control centres and access to good quality CCTV to provide assistance in the investigation of complaints”.

The Department of Transport had not responded to a request for comment.

Read: Gardaí called to Dart station as fight breaks out between youths in carriage

Read: “Can you get out of that thing?” – Wheelchair user has cringeworthy experience dealing with Bus Éireann

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