[Oireachtas] 973. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if drugs related offences in County Longford have increased or decreased since the divisional drug unit headquarters was transferred to County Roscommon. [18270/12]. (18 Apr 2012)
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): I am advised by the Garda authorities that the Garda National Policing Plan of 2002 outlined that each Garda Division was to set up a full time dedicated Divisional Drugs Unit. Following the establishment of the new Garda Division for Roscommon/Longford in 2009, a dedicated Divisional Drug Unit was established in Roscommon Garda Station, which was deemed geographically most central and strategically suitable.
Local Garda management is of the view that the establishment of the Unit, based in Roscommon, ensures a more cohesive and coordinated approach to the enforcement of drugs legislation within the Division.
The Garda authorities are satisfied that the Unit is deployed on a regular basis in Longford and other locations within the Division, as the need and crime trends indicate, with liaison being maintained with local district officers regarding intelligence-gathering and the monitoring of local suspected offenders, in respect of the sale and supply of illegal drugs within the overall Division.
The situation is closely monitored by local Garda management in consultation with the Regional Assistant Commissioner who is satisfied that the establishment of the Divisional Drugs Unit, based in Roscommon, has not resulted in any diminished role by An Garda Síochána in addressing drug problems in Longford.
With regard to drug offence statistics for the area, I am advised by the Garda authorities that Garda records indicate that in the Granard and Longford Garda districts, there were 87 incidents of possession of drugs for personal use contrary to section 3 of the Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977 and 1984 detected in 2011, compared with 66 such incidents recorded in 2010. Furthermore, in the same districts there were 28 incidents of possession of drugs for the purpose of sale or supply, contrary to section 15 of the Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977 and 1984 detected in 2011, compared with 19 in 2010. In addition there were 6 incidents of cultivation of drugs, contrary to section 17 of the Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977 and 1984 detected in 2011, compared with 2 such incidents recorded in 2010.
These figures reflect increased levels of enforcement since the establishment of a dedicated Drug Unit in the Roscommon /Longford Garda Division and also the trend nationwide in the increased detections of so-called ‘grow-house’ operations.
Written Answers: Drug Seizures
Vol. 761 No. 3
Wednesday, 18 April 2012
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