CORK’s top cop, Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin, has promised to increase Garda visibility across the city centre to combat assaults and public order offences.
Chief Supt McPolin made the assurances at the city’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting held last night at City Hall. His comments come in the wake of a number of high-profile incidents in the city in recent weeks.
The meeting heard that An Garda Siochána in Cork had received 12 gardaí since the start of the year.
Eight were kept on after Operation Open City, which allowed increased patrols across the city over Christmas. Four other guards transferred to the division.
These additional gardaí will be allocated straight into frontline policing, and Chief Supt McPolin said he expected to receive additional resources from Templemore following February’s graduation ceremony.
This new on-the-street policing programme, called Operation Soteria, will put additional guards in the city at key times in order to combat assaults and public order, and will be reviewed after three months to see how it is getting on.
Operation Soteria will include a high-visibility presence which will be working on foot patrol and mountain bike patrol during the evenings when gardaí are seeing a spike in assaults, public order, and robbery incidents.
A Garda spokesperson said: “As part of An Garda Síochána’s assault reduction strategy we have increased high-visibility patrols and inspections of licenced premises in Co Cork.
“Operation Soteria is a nationwide operation that has been put in place to reduce assaults and the fear of assaults, and to make public places safer.
“This is a multi-strand operation with a pro-arrest, early investigation, and proactive high-visibility policing focus.
“As part of this operation, An Garda Síochána will be working locally with relevant stakeholders such as vintners, local authorities and non-government organisations to reduce assaults.
“There is also an educational part to this operation. Our community policing figures are at the highest they have ever been with three sergeants and 32 gardaí.
“This allows us to spend more time in our schools and youth clubs talking and educating young people about the dangers of assaults carrying and weapons and the consequences that they can have.”
In terms of the six murders that have occurred in Cork since July, the gardaí said in three of those cases they have made arrests, in two other cases files have been sent to the DPP and, in the case of Frankie Dunne, they are happy with how the investigation is progressing.