The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr Michael McDowell, TD, today published the report of the Garda Commissioner for 2005. The statistics confirm the provisional figures, which the Minister released in January and which showed an increase in headline crime of 2.7% for the year compared with 2004. They also show that non-headline crime (proceedings commenced) increased by 12.2%.
The Minister said "When I released the provisional 2005 headline figures, I commented that while it is the case that a number of the increases reflect increased enforcement activity on the part of An Garda Síochána, the overall picture indicates that there is no room for complacency and validates the Government's decision to continue to devote unprecedented resources to the fight against crime. This applies with equal validity to the non-headline figures which are being published for the first time in the Garda annual report."
Non Headline Offences
The Minister noted the overall increase of 12.2% in the number of non-headline offences, while welcoming the fact that, given the nature of many of the offences covered, much of the increase reflects increased Garda enforcement.
He said: "I note that the offence groups with the biggest increases are predominantly groups where an offence comes to light more as a result of Garda enforcement than as a result of being reported by a victim, such as road traffic and vehicle offences. There were noteworthy increases in intoxicated driving and in-charge offences (up 10%), insurance offences (up 12%), driving licence offences (up 16%), tax registration offences (up 12%), general road offences (up 32%) and also in public order offences (up 7%). As a result of significant Garda attention being paid to heavy goods and similar vehicles, there was an increase in road transport offences (up 51%)."
He noted that the increase of 350% in Sex Offenders Act offences is the result of a numerically small increase from 4 to 18 cases, and relates to non-compliance by convicted sex offenders with the provisions of the Act, such as notifying a change of address, rather than to sex offences per se.
Increase in Garda numbers and resources
2006 will see the strength of An Garda Síochána, including students, reach the level of 14,000 as indicated in the Programme for Government. The resources available to the Commissioner have also reached record levels. The Minister said "An Garda Síochána has this year the highest level of resources in its history - 1.3 billion Euro - an increase of 146 million Euro or 13% on 2005. The provision for Garda overtime in 2006 is 83.5 million Euro - an increase of 23 million Euro on the allocation for 2005 - and last month I made a further 10 million Euro available for special operations. These targeted resources will greatly assist the Commissioner in his deployment of a visible policing service in a flexible, effective and response to criminal activity and to crime prevention. The 83.5 million Euro in overtime will yield 2.725 million extra hours of policing by uniformed and by special units throughout the State."
The Minister noted that the level of headline crime in 2005 is 2% lower than that for 2003. "It should be borne in mind that any interpretation of the crime figures should factor in the increase in our population in the past 10 years. In 1995, with a population of almost 3.6 million people, there were 29 crimes per 1,000 of the population. In 2005, with a population of over 4.1 million, there was the equivalent of 24.6 crimes per 1,000 of the population."
The report is being published on the Garda website (www.garda.ie).
9 May, 2006.