City gardai upskilled to deal with ‘worrying’ heroin rise

There is a “worrying” increase in the use of heroin, a trend which has resulted in the drugs unit upskilling gardai throughout the county, the Galway City Joint Policing Committee was told this week.

Chief Superintendent of the Galway Garda Division Tom Curley made the comments at the meeting on Monday soon after the Garda report outlining the crime statistics for the city from the period of January 1 to September 30 this year was presented to committee members.

The report revealed that nearly €100,000 worth of drugs was seized in the city by gardai in the first eight months of the year. There had been an increase of 14 per cent for incidents of possession with intent to sell or supply, with 57 reported. For simple possession there were 191 incidents, an increase of 10.4 per cent. The largest amount of drugs seized was for cannabis at €63,880, followed by cocaine at €11,800, heroin at €9,350, prescription drugs at €5,000, ecstacy at €3,710, and mephedrone at €3,000.

Regarding the investigation of drug related crimes, Chief Supt Curley told the meeting that “it is an on-going battle” and is “high on our priority list”. He further explained there were between 20 and 25 hard core dealers operating in the city but that it was the “county figures that would relate to the big players”, adding that there have been substantial seizures in grow houses this year and last year. Regarding the notable increase in the use of heroin in the city Chief Supt Curley said gardai are “targeting the use of the drug in the city and “we are upskilling our people in every district, from uniform to plain clothes.”

The Garda report showed that overall there has been a reduction of 17.8 per cent in criminal acitivity in the city, with 4,699 incidents detected. The number of burglaries reported was 253, representing a similar reduction of 17.8 per cent. However theft from a person has seen an increase of 26.5 per cent, with 100 incidents detected. There was also an increase in theft from a shop with 438 incidents reported, up 4.2 per cent. Thefts from an MPV and other thefts decreased, with 105 incidents (-8.6 per cent ) and 254 incidents (-5.2 per cent ) respectively. Other figures include: public order incidents - 629, down 21.8 per cent; assault scausing harm - 42, down 40 per cent; and minor assaults - 115, down 35.8 per cent. There were 12 rape of a male/female incidents reported, which is up 50 per cent, however, Chief Supt Curley explained these figures include historical incidents which were only reported this year. There were 20 incidents of sexual assault, up 17.6 per cent.

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