Resources still the big issue in fighting crime
Anti-social behaviour, the low number of gardai in Meath and the need for a new Garda station in Navan were among the issues raised at Monday night's meeting of the Meath Joint Policing Committee, which was attended by Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris.
One of the main issues raised was the need for more Gardaí.
Mr Harris told the meeting that there are plans to recruit more and he would be taking lot of gardai away from administrative roles and concentrating one increasing the number of gardai on the street.
Chief Supt Healy said he had put forward a business plan showing the need for additional gardai in Meath and believed the case had been heard, while the Commissioner said there were a number of different reasons for having different numbers of gardai in a region.
The meeting also heard that the merger of the Meath and Westmeath divisions won't mean any gardai lost to Navan. Although the headquarters will be in Mullingar, the chief superintendent will be based in Navan and will spend time in Mullingar.
Deputy Thomas Byrne told the meeting that the commuter belt area needs to be a specific area in the garda policing plan.
Cllr Noel French raised the issue of anti social behaviour, drugs and speeding, the need for more gardai and a new station in Navan.
Deputy Peadar Tóibín told the Commissioner that “he was now in the county with the worst record on Garda numbers in the country. In Meath there is one Garda for every 660 people. This compares with an average throughout the state of one Garda for every 442 people. Indeed Meath has half the number of the gardaí as the most policed county in the country”.
“There is a direct correlation between the number of Gardaí and the crime and detection rate. This means that the fight against crime in Meath is significantly hampered in comparison to other counties. This is evident in the significant increase both in drugs crime and crimes against the person that have been recorded this year to date.”
Deputy Tóibín also raised the poor technology resources that exist in the state. "Meath has no divisional headquarters. This has resulted in the movement out of the county of the divisional headquarters to Mullingar. In my experience the location of decisions always influences the location of resources. My worry is that Meath will lose again," he said.