Thursday, 20 April 1972
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Ryan: asked the Minister for Justice whether any Garda patrol cars in the Dublin area are withdrawn from service at night time while detectives are required to use bicycles while on duty; and, if so, if he will ensure the fullest possible use of all available patrol cars to assist members of the Garda Síochána in the prevention of crime and in pursuit of criminals, having regard to the increasing number of criminals who use motor vehicles while engaged in crime.
Mr. Ryan: Is the Minister aware that there are in the Dublin area a number of cars which are used from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and are not used again until 9 a.m. the following morning during that time of evening and night when most crimes are committed by people with motorised transport?
Mr. O'Malley: Any cars that are required for patrolling at night are available and all the district patrol cars patrol 24 hours a day. The detective unit cars patrol until a very late hour at night as well and can, if necessary, patrol all night.
Mr. Ryan: If all necessary cars are  available at night, can the Minister say why it is that recently a number of gardaí who previously had cars made available to them on night duty have now been told the cars will no longer be available and they must proceed on bicycles? Would the Minister accept that, on the laws of probability, a 16-stone garda operating a pedal bicycle is likely to be somewhat handicapped in the pursuit and capture of people escaping from the scene of a crime in a multi-horse powered vehicle?
Mr. O'Malley: In one district in Dublin in which there was a particularly heavy incidence of house-breaking, notwithstanding the fact that there were a number of cars patrolling the area and, as a result of a conference held by a number of officers with detectives working in the area, it was agreed it would be preferable if some of the detectives did not operate their cars because this seemed to give warning to the criminals concerned. With the consent of the people involved, and because they were found more effective, a limited number of detectives are using bicycles for patrols at the moment and they have found this method of operation more successful than the one they had been operating.
Mr. Ryan: Would the Minister not agree that quite frequently gardaí reach the scene of a crime as a result of a telephone call, upon which contact is made with the radio-controlled car, and would the Minister not agree that, in the absence of radio-controlled bicycles, it would be much better to leave radio-controlled cars with the detectives and the gardaí to enable them to reach the scene of the crime while the criminals are still there?
Mr. O'Malley: The purpose of the particular types of patrol is not to get to the scene of incidents that are reported: it is to try to prevent crime in a particular area in which crime of a particular type is very heavy. The gardaí tell me that these new tactics are, in fact, successful.
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