Laois is set to receive 15 new gardaí this November, bringing the total number of new recruits to the region in recent times to 50 peace offices.
At last week’s meeting of the Joint Policing Committee in Laois County Hall, Chief Superintendent John Scanlon revealed that people can expect to see more young gardaí on the streets, with the new recruits gaining their experience in Portlaoise before some move out to the rural areas.
When the 15 come he said the local figures would be heading close to 50 new gardaí.
“We will see figures we never had before,” he said.
Looking to the future, he said that in excess of 100 more gardaí will come to the division.
In addition, local garda stations are set to improve, with the Rathdowney station recently renovated, Borris in Ossory is currently being renovated, and Mountmellick has had some work done.
Chief Supt Scanlon said there were two extra gardaí in Rathdowney, meaning the station can be opened every day.
Cllr Paddy Bracken said that what was missed the last few years was gardaí on the street and he expressed his hope that some of the new gardaí would be stationed in Mountmellick.
He pointed out that some gardaí work a shift from 10pm to 6am and suggested that if things were revamped in the small towns with gardaí starting at midnight instead it might improve the situation very much.
However, he praised the current policing numbers in his area, saying: “I never saw the gardaí with such a huge presence in Mountmellick as over the last few weeks.”
Superintendent Anthony Pettit said he was glad to see the gardaí in Mountmellick were performing well, adding that he was committed to upping the number both there and in Portarlington.
Regarding the hours worked by gardaí, he pointed out that if you do tweak the roster it could leave parts of the county without a garda at certain times, so a balance needed to be struck.
At the meeting, it was revealed that the latest crime figures show there has been a slight rise over the past 12 months in the number of arrests in Laois, but this was attributed to an increased garda presence in the county.