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Rise in garda assaults and obstructions 'a cause for concern'

There were 84 incidents recorded in the first three months of this year.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive

NEW GARDA FIGURES show an apparent increase in the number of obstructions and assaults against members of the force.

Some 2,600 incidents of assault, obstruction and resisting arrest have been recorded over the past 10 years, according to statistics provided to Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan.

The number rose to a peak of 332 incidents in 2012, dropping to 263 in 2013 and increasing again to 282 last year.

There were 84 incidents reported in the first three months of this year, a trend that if continued could see a new high of 336 recorded incidents by the end of 2015.

Capture Source: Bernard Durkan

Need for respect

Durkan today expressed concern that the level of abuse faced by many gardaí could lead to a “serious breakdown in law and order”.

“If gardaí are continuously treated in this fashion, they’ll find it difficult to do their job,” he told TheJournal.ie.

This, to my mind, will have very serious consequences. It will dissuade people from joining the force.

He said member of the public need to be conscious that gardaí are “public servants carrying out their duties” who should be treated with respect.

Back in January, the Garda Representative Association (GRA) said it believed assaults on gardaí may be getting worse.

And before last year’s GRA annual delegate conference, its outgoing president, John Parker, warned that a large number of incidents are not in fact recorded by the Garda Síochana’s system.

“[With systems used by other police forces, if] a garda had used pepper spray on someone, that would be recorded, or if a garda had to warn somebody off that would be a low level use of force,” he said.

Similarly when a guard is threatened or spat at that would be considered an assault. Where a guard’s family have been threatened that would be considered assault.

Read: Gardaí investigating how media knew about Jobstown charges before Paul Murphy did >

Read: Gardaí tweet a rather inspiring message for Leaving Cert students >

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Catherine Healy

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