Muintir na Tire

New app will use reports from members of public to track movement of criminals

The CEO of Muintir na Tire said this extension of the text alert scheme is already being trialed and the intention is to roll it out nationally.

A NEW APP to be rolled out nationally will allow the creators to track the activities of criminals as they move through communities.

Neil Garvey, CEO of Muintir na Tire, spoke about his organisation’s plans to expand its text alert system at the launch of the Oireachtas Justice Committee’s report on community policing and rural crime today. 

Garvey said this new app, called Cairde, incorporates the organisation’s existing text alert technology and also allows communities to talk to each other. 

It features a panic button that allows users to call for help from friends or neighbours in the area. 

Garvey also said the team has developed technology that allows them to see in realtime the alerts that are coming in, what they relate to, and any patterns that are emerging.

So if for instance there’s a vehicle registration number being reported in one parish and ten minutes later it’s being reported in another, we can see that and can use what we call ‘hotspotting’ to see where the activity is going and see what the patterns are in realtime.

He said when gardaí receive a report from someone about a suspicious vehicle, they will be able to check their system to see if this vehicle is of interest to them. Then they will be able to use this app to alert members of the local community. 

“People can use the app to report sightings of it and they feed that back in. In theory we should be able to almost predict crimes before they happen by being able to track that.”

He said they will not be able to share that information with the public for GDPR reasons but they will be able to share the information with gardaí. 

The app is already being used in west Cork on a pilot basis and Garvey said it is hoped that a cross-border aspect can be worked into it down the road, after it has been expanded on a national level. 

Overlap of policing and healthcare

The Justice Committee report launched today made a number of recommendations including a renewal of funding for text alert schemes to tackle rural crime.

The report also recommends:

  • The wider use of restorative justice;
  • Increasing the number of community gardaí on patrol in areas where garda stations have been closed;
  • A greater emphasis on social media use by An Garda Síochána to increase visibility
  • A specific rural taskforce;
  • Legislation and funding for CCTV systems;
  • A review of border structures in the context of Brexit.

Chair of the committee Caoimghín Ó Caoláin made reference to the “overlap of policing and healthcare”, particularly in relation to individuals living with mental illness.

“The lack of provision of primary healthcare and other welfare services outside regular business hours leaves them managing many non-crime incidents,” he said.

The committee has recommended measures to improve this such as custody suites that integrate nurse-led healthcare and joint ambulance and police control rooms and call services.

Garda Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn, who attended the launch, said An Garda Síochána said the organisation recognises “we do need to work in partnership with other agencies”.

He said this report has come at a good time for the force as new recruits are coming on stream and there is also work to hire civilian staff so that gardaí can get back to frontline policing.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel