Laois-Offaly to get three new gardaí specialising in policing the roads
Laois-Offaly has been allocated three additional roads policing gardaí to tackle road safety and "deny criminals the use of the roads" in both counties. The issue of roaming criminals using the road network to exploit rural counties like Laois and Offaly has come sharply into focus in recent months after a number of high profile incidents.
An Garda Síochana has announced that 87 new garda members were being appointed to roads policing in the coming weeks with three being sent to the Laois-Offaly division.
As part of the Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016-2021, the Garda Traffic Corps has undergone an internal examination and evaluation of their roles and functions with a view to improving their service to the community and their contribution to Road Safety. As part of this work the Traffic Corps will in future be known as Roads Policing.
As well as the 87 drafted into the ranks this time around, a further 63 Gardaí have been successful in a recent competition and will be appointed in October 2018, bringing the total number of Gardaí in Roads Policing to over 700. Further appointments will be made in 2019, 2020 and 2021 in order to reach a commitment given by the Garda Commissioner to incrementally increase the numbers in Roads Policing to 1,031 by 2021.
Deputy Garda Commissioner John Twomey addressed the newly appointed members on completion of their Roads Policing induction course in Nenagh when he congratulated them on being selected to work full time in Roads Policing.
In his address, Commissioner Twomey emphasised the importance of the role these members will play in making our roads and our communities safer and protecting road users from the risk of death and serious injury.
Commissioner Twomey also said that this must be done "with the support of the community and encouraged members to be utterly professional in their work, to be balanced in their actions and be both reasonable and proportionate in the execution of their duties.”
"Last year was the safest year recorded on Irish roads and the challenge is to continue the hard work to ensure that the downward trend in road deaths and serious injuries continues," he added.
He asked that each and every member work to become a champion of road safety in their policing division and to become experts in all areas of road safety and roads policing.
A key element of the work of the new Roads Policing Unit will be to deny criminals the use of the roads network. In addition to focusing on the lifesaver offences of speeding, seatbelts, mobile phones and driving under the influence, there will be a significant focus on crime prevention and crime detection.
Roads Policing will now work closely with crime units to target known criminals and to disrupt their activities through strict enforcement of road traffic legislation.
"The Roads Policing units have recently been prioritised with new vehicles such as 4X4 Jeeps for use on motorways and which were invaluable during the recent severe weather. This deployment of the additional human resources and equipment is testimony of the commitment at the highest levels within An Garda Síochána to Road Safety and Roads Policing," Twomey concluded.