GRA: Ireland on brink of policing crisis17/04/2012 - 07:45:00
The Garda Representative Association (GRA) is warning that Ireland is on the brink of a policing crisis.
The GRA, which begins its annual conference in Co Westmeath today, said the country's 165 Garda divisions are all understaffed.
The association, which represents frontline officers, is also calling for stiffer penalties for people who attack gardaí.
Rank and file gardaí say it is becoming increasingly difficult to provide a first-class service given the ongoing cutbacks.
GRA President Damien McCarthy said it is impacting on morale in the force.
"Two thousand retirements from the force, coupled with the threat of further closures of garda stations - we have all the necessary ingredients in place now to ensure that we are on the brink of a crisis in terms of policing in this country," he said.
The 165 delegates at the conference are also seeking greater punishment for people who assault gardaí in the course of duty.
Mr McCarthy said that on average, two officers a day are attacked.
"(We need) specific legislation for frontline public servants who are responding to violent incidents, with a specific, stiffer penalty," he said.
"It should carry five years, or less."
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and Justice Minister Alan Shatter will address the conference this afternoon.
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