'A concern': Chief Superintendent David Sheahan
LIMERICK gardai are responding to more than two calls a day relating to domestic violence, it has been revealed.
The head of the Limerick garda division says the figures, which show that more than 820 calls have been received so far in 2017, are frightening – particularly given the number of repeat calls they receive to certain locations.
Chief Superintendent David Sheahan says it’s a concern that gardai have been called to 19 houses on at least ten occasions while they have attended a further 34 houses on at least four occasions.
“It’s one area which we have flagged up as being a risk to ourselves and a risk to the organisation and to the communities in particular because with that level of call out there is something wrong,” he told members of the Limerick Joint Policing Committee.
“We are constantly going back to those houses to try and ensure that the proper facilities and the proper systems are in place to ensure that we don’t end up with a domestic violence incident getting out of control,” he added.
While not every call results in an arrest or a criminal prosecution, figures released this week show there have been 33 reported incidents of barring orders being breached in the first 11 months of 2017.
There were 48 reported breaches of protection orders while there were 56 reported breaches of safety orders.
Most of the breaches relate to incidents within the metropolitan area although there have been almost 20 breaches of court orders reported in the Bruff and Newcastle West garda districts.
There is no breakdown of prosecutions or convictions relating to offences such as assault or criminal damage which may occur during a domestic incident.
Chief Supt Sheahan says he has put protocols in place with other agencies and stakeholders in an effort to try and deal with repeat call outs.
“Where we have received three calls to the same house in any period of time one of the Protective Services Unit actually goes out and visits the home,” he said.
“We have identified 78 premises where we have been called more than three times in the last year to deal with domestic violence calls. There are a further 34 where we have been called at least four times and there are 19 locations which we have received 10 or more calls from,” he told the quarterly meeting.
Chief Supt Sheahan said the establishment of the Protective Services Unit in January has changed the way gardai deal with domestic violence call outs.
“It’s a small unit but the work that they do is phenomenal and I have to say it’s one of the best decisions I made since I came here,” he said.