Shatter determined to build on good work of Gardaí

and meet the challenges ahead

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) today published the recorded crime statistics for the third quarter of 2011.  Speaking on publication, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr Alan Shatter TD, welcomed the decreases in 12 of the 14 crime groups for which figures are given, compared with the same quarter in 2010. 

Minister Shatter said:  "I welcome the positive picture shown by these latest statistics.  In particular, I welcome the reduction of almost a half (42.1%) in homicide offences in the quarter, which includes a reduction of almost a tenth (9.1%) in the number of murders.  Also very encouraging are the reductions in the categories of controlled drug offences (down 15%) and weapons and explosives offences (down 11.3%)."

There is also a reduction (of 21.3%) in the number of sexual offences, spread across all categories.  While, as the CSO points out, there was a rise in the number of such offences recorded in 2010, due to an ongoing review of such cases by An Garda Síochána, the continuing fall back from the 2010 figures is to be welcomed.

With regard to property related crime (broadly speaking robbery, burglary and theft), this is broadly static (up 0.2%), as is the most serious category of such crime - robbery, extortion and hijacking (up 0.4%).  An Garda Síochána is placing a particular emphasis on preventing and reducing burglary and having a targeted response, having regard to locations, times, offenders and victims.  Almost one quarter of burglaries take place between 12 pm and 4 pm, with Thursday and Friday being the most likely days for burglaries to take place.

There have been significant decreases in the numbers of cases of dangerous driving leading to death – which is classed as a homicide offence (down 83.3%), driving or in charge of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs (down 48.1%) and driving or in charge of a vehicle while over the legal alcohol limit (down 16.4%).  Ireland has made good progress in road safety, and further measures designed to build on this progress are being introduced.  Of particular significance is the coming into force at midnight last night of new reduced drink drive limits.  These are in line with European levels and see the permitted maximum level drop to 50 milligrammes (mg) per 100 millilitres of blood for drivers in general and to 20 mg for learner, newly qualified and professional drivers (such as bus, goods vehicle and public service vehicle drivers).  An Garda Síochána has the necessary preparations in place to enforce the new limits, and all the necessary scientific equipment has been recalibrated and is in place in Garda stations.

The Minister welcomed the reduction of 15% in public order and related offences.  He said:  "Misuse of alcohol is an important contributory factor in public order offending and disorderly conduct.  It is the reality that the large quantities of alcohol on display in some supermarkets and convenience stores, and the prominence given to alcohol products, remain a cause for concern.  I published yesterday a report for 2011 on compliance with the voluntary Code of Practice for the display and sale of alcohol in supermarkets, convenience stores and similar mixed trading outlets.  I am inviting comments from interested bodies and individuals, and I intend to seek the views of the Minister for Health and the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality prior to reaching any decision on whether to bring the statutory rules in the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008 into operation."     

The Minister said:  "While there are clearly no grounds for complacency, it is right that I compliment the Garda Commissioner, his senior management and all members of the Force for their focused and strategic work in preventing and detecting crime."

Work on developing a White Paper on Crime is at an advanced stage, following an extensive consultation process.  The development of the White Paper involves an end to end examination of the prevention, intervention and enforcement strategies to combat crime.  The intention is that this will incorporate a framework National Anti-Crime Strategy to combat and prevent crime which will reflect and respond to the issues raised during the consultation process.

The crime statistics are available on the CSO website

28 October, 2011