Antisocial behaviour warnings slashed in Limerick

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Sean Lynch

ANTISOCIAL behavioural warnings issued by Gardai have been slashed with numbers issued dropping 65 per cent drop in Limerick.

The figures were revealed as reports roll in about people being terrorised by bare-back horse riders, gangs or youths and as 4,500 logged into a podcast by a city TD who has pledged to pioneer laws to tackle the plague.

Figures obtained by the Social Democrats indicating that there was an 85 per cent reduction nationally in warnings issued.

When introduced in 2008, 46 warnings were issued in Limerick, reaching a zenith of 91 in 2011.

In 2016, 65 warnings were issued but in 2017 that figure dropped to 23 and to date in 2018, less than 10 warnings have been issued.

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Reacting to the national figures and the 85 per cent drop, Social Democrats TD Roisin Shortall said that “when a child or young person is getting involved in persistent antisocial behaviour, early intervention is vital to stop them being drawn into more serious crime.

“That is why gardaí were granted the power to issue official Behaviour Warnings to children and their parents, to make them aware that more serious steps may be taken if the behaviour continues.

Speaking to the Limerick Post this week, Metropolitan Mayor of Limerick and former garda detective Sean Lynch said that an increase in the visible presence of Gardai is needed in a bid to combat the latest wave of antisocial behaviour.

“There’s a group of about 20 or 30 lads going around causing mayhem and the next things is that they will upgrade to more serious crime and start carrying knives or weapons and things will get out of hand altogether.

“These measures should never be about criminalising children, but they can play an important role in removing them from environments and behaviours that lead down a dangerous path.”

Mayor Lynch said that he would reiterate his call for a public Garda kiosk to be located in the city centre.

“The initiative is one that has worked in cities around the world like New York but even as close as Manchester and Glasgow.

“The city needs a presence of An Garda Siochana in the heart of the commercial centre.

“The kiosk can be run by civilians, but it can be a point of contact between the victim and gardai and somewhere that can provide that link.

Mayor Lynch said that the initiative, already mooted to senior Gardai and City Hall on a number of occasions would be fully supported by the business people of Limerick.

“Resources are being drained and the current members are tied up entering data on the PULSE system, which is not fit for purpose. This is administrative work that could be done by civilians and free up the members to police.

Mayor Lynch added that “we need to return to the days of stopping and searching youngsters on the street as if this is not curtailed then they will move to more serious crime.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Willie O’Dea got 4,500 hots on a podcast which he posted about anti-social behaviour in the wake of last week’s Limerick Post lead story about families being terrorised at the Brothers of Charity Facility.

“Hundreds of people commented on the post. We have to change the law to make sanctions – even for younger offenders – appropriate and we must look at parental responsibility. This is something I am determined to tackle legally,” Deputy O’Dea.

You can read the Limerick Post lead story from Saturday, June 2, here.