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shocking figures Concern as half the knife seizures recorded by gardai last year were in Dublin

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2,243 knives were recovered by Gardaí in 2020

2,243 knives were recovered by Gardaí in 2020

2,243 knives were recovered by Gardaí in 2020

Up to 1,000 knives seized in Dublin last year is almost half the total number taken off the streets across the country, new figures reveal. 

The 2,243 knives recovered by Gardaí in 2020, represents a five per cent rise on 2019.

According to new figures released to Newstalk, 172 were seized in Cork City and 86 were seized in County Limerick.

Meanwhile, 77 were seized in Louth and 73 were recovered in Waterford.

Dublin Central TD Gary Gannon said it is time to take a zero-tolerance approach to “knife crime and the carrying of knives.”

“That requires more Gardaí on the streets and it requires an understanding of the natures of gang-related behaviour,” he said. “Where these groups are congregating and what exactly they have the knives for.

“Then, I also think we need to see knife crime and crime in general as being not inevitable.

“These type of crimes seem like they are inevitable and they will be ever-present with us and I don’t think they should be.”

He said the high proportion of seizures in Dublin is “massively concerning” and noted that it has been “apparent for a long time” that the streets of Dublin are unsafe.

However, last month, Garda commissioner Drew Harris said that violent knife crime is not as serious as is being portrayed in the media.

The Garda chief said their data is showing a slow but downward trend in the use of knives while seizures have also increased.

Mr Harris acknowledged that there were a number of tragic recent incidents involving knives but that their data “does not bare out the narrative one sees so often in the media.”

He told a virtual meeting of the Policing Authority that there has been an overall downward trend in knife crimes in the past 10 years.

Mr Harris said the age profiles peak from 18 up to 44, contrary to suggestions that it is an issue amongst younger people, and that hospitalisations from knife injuries are also reducing.

The Garda chief said knives are being used in a variety of crimes, such as robbery, assault and domestic abuse, and that it is “not as clear cut as being portrayed” and not “reaching epidemic proportions”.

In relation to previous calls for knife amnesties, the Department of Justice said that while the "rationale" is appreciated, expert advice from An Garda Síochána and others is that such amnesties are "generally ineffective" in preventing knife crime.

However, all policies surrounding knife crime are under ongoing review, the Department said.

The Justice Plan 2021, published earlier this week by the Government, includes an "action" to review garda powers in relation to dangerous weapons, including knives.

This action is due to be completed by October.

Meanwhile, a pilot community safety programme has been earmarked for Dublin's north inner city area.

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