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Ireland 'These cuts are unacceptable'- Drug units shrinking nationally despite increased drug crime

19:15  28 october  2019
19:15  28 october  2019 Source:   independent.ie

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The trafficking and abuse of drugs in the United States affect nearly all aspects of our lives. Drug law violations constitute a substantial proportion of incarcerations in local, state, and federal facilities and represent the most common arrest category. The drug - crime link is also reflected in arrestee data.

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the inside of a building: Cocaine and cannabis herb with an estimated street value of €715,000 were seized. Photo: An Garda Siochana Cocaine and cannabis herb with an estimated street value of €715,000 were seized. Photo: An Garda Siochana

The number of gardaí committed to drug units across the State has reduced significantly since beginning of the decade, despite a spike in drug crime.

A modest increase this year does not transfigure an overall trend, which has permeated since the beginning of the decade, of a decreasing number of gardaí in drug units.

As of September of this year, 232 gardaí, including inspectors and sergeants, formed part of all drug units across the country. This increase of 10 gardaí from last year, comes as only the second increase since 2011. The other was in 2015 when just four gardaí extra made up the specialist units.

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The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC; French: Office des Nations unies contre la drogue et le crime ) is a United Nations office that was established in 1997 as the Office for Drug

interdiction increases drug -related crime ? a. The demand for illegal drugs is inelastic. b. Interdiction results in drug addicts having a greater need for quick cash. c. Interdiction results in an increase in the amount of money needed to buy the same amount of drugs . d. Government drug programs are .

Garda drugs units are made up mainly of detectives and undercover gardaí assigned to deal with illicit drugs, movements and seizures.

Apart from these slight deviations, the general pattern since 2011 shows large decreases in drugs enforcement personpower. In 2011, 359 gardaí formed the drug units nationwide. This had decreased to 253 in 2014, and 222 last year.

In that period, the number of drugs unit gardaí in Dublin decreased from 147 to just 80. Limerick lost half of the gardaí in their drugs units from 20 to 10, Cork City saw a decrease from 38 to 23, and the Kilkenny/Carlow region lost 75pc of its drug unit, going from eight members to two Wicklow's drug unit also notably decreased from 11 in 2011 to four this year.

Donegal, Laois and Louth saw numbers in their drugs units halved, while Clare lost two-thirds the number of gardaí in their unit. Most other counties saw minor decreases, while numbers in Kerry, Kildare and Waterford have actually increased since 2011, and those in Mayo, Meath and Tipperary stayed the same.

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The decrease of more than 35pc (35.376pc) between 2011 and 2019 comes as the number of controlled drug offences increased by around 13pc (12.811pc) in the same period nationally, from 17,571 in 2011 to 20,153, between June 2018 and June 2019.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Concerns: Fianna Fáil drug policy spokesman John Curran. Photo: Collins Concerns: Fianna Fáil drug policy spokesman John Curran. Photo: Collins John Curran Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin Mid-West - an area that has seen its number of drug unit gardaí drop from 35 to seven in that period, said that these cuts are 'unacceptable'.

"These cuts are unacceptable, particularly when we see high levels of drug crime continuing," he said.

"The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charles Flanagan, has said he has been informed by the Commissioner that the additional resources coming on stream have enabled him to assign resources to Specialist Bureaus such as the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau for next year.

"Extra resources are badly needed in these divisions and not reductions like we have been seeing over the past few years."

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Most state drug schedules are based on federal drug schedules. In addition to federal drug crime laws, every state has laws against the unlawful possession, use, distribution, or manufacturing of illegal drugs . These may include heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, marijuana, some prescription drugs

Drugs penalties. You can get a fine or prison sentence if you Types of drugs . The maximum penalties for drug possession, supply (selling, dealing or sharing) and production depend on what type or ‘class’ the drug is . your personal history (previous crimes , including any previous drug offences).

The Fine Gael TD responded to Deputy Curran, indicating that he has 'no responsibility' in managing Garda personelle. Deputy Flanagan continued that the Garda Commissioner - who he says is responsible for this distibution of gardaí - has ensured him that some the recent budget allocation for An Garda Síochána will go into assigning resources to Specialist Bureaus such as the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.

"The Garda Commissioner is statutorily responsible for the management of An Garda Síochána, including personnel matters and deployment of resources," he said.

"As Minister, I have no responsibility for these matters. Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of resources.

"As the Deputies will be aware, a record €1.76 billion was allocated to the Garda Vote for 2019, as well as capital investment amounting to €92 million this year. I am pleased to have secured an overall increase of €122 million to increase An Garda Síochána's budget for 2020 to an unprecedented €1.882 billion for next year.

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Figure 2. National Drug Overdose Deaths—Number Among All Ages, 1999-2017. Among the more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths estimated in 2017, the sharpest increase occurred among deaths related to fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (other synthetic narcotics) with more than 28,400 overdose

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"I have been informed by the Commissioner that the additional resources coming on stream have enabled him to assign resources to Specialist Bureaus such as the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau. This Bureau leads on the strategy for tackling drugs and works with Garda Divisional Drug Units nationwide in demand reduction and supply reduction at local level."

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