Aggression against gardaí is being ‘fuelled by cocaine,’ former inspector says

Last year, 285 members of the gardaí were assaulted while on duty.

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Maeve McTaggartSunday World

Aggression against gardaí is being “fuelled by cocaine,” a former Garda Inspector has claimed.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast today, Tony Gallagher said he blames drugs for the rise in assaults against on duty gardaí.

"It’s been fuelled by cocaine. That’s the new phenomenon,” he told listeners.

“It’s getting a more defiant society in terms of the commission of crime.

“There’s a defiance there now that wasn’t there previously and it’s as if they know that the Garda numbers are weak on the ground.”

Mr Gallagher said those who may assault gardaí are taking advantage of the current situation.

"That defiance is there and they’re having a go.

"And you have these situations then because they know that the support coming to those poor, unfortunate garda who are dealing with a multitude of stuff are not getting sufficient support.”

He said the government must take another look at legislation and update it to reflect what is currently happening to gardaí.

“The Criminal Justice Public Order Act is now 28-years-old and the Non-Fatal Offences Against The Person Act is 25-years-old,” he added.

“So, even the area of the breach of the peace - that now needs to be amended to encompass… threatening behaviour and abuse directed towards a member of the Garda Síochána and have a specific penalty for that.”

Last year, 285 members of the gardaí were assaulted while on duty – a 17pc rise on the previous year – the Garda Representative Association recently revealed.

Over 20 bone fractures or dislocations were reported by officers along with 17 open wounds and 102 bruises, grazes or bites.

“It is a massive issue because we’ve seen in the recent past that there has been a massive societal change in terms of the levels of violence that gardaí are experiencing on the street,” a GRA spokesperson told Newstalk last week.

“The latest figures that have been published in relation to gardaí being injured on duty make for very difficult reading.

“I think it is a significant problem that has to be addressed.”

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