CALLS have been made to locate a garda unit on Limerick’s main shopping thoroughfare during business hours to give “comfort and confidence to traders and shoppers”.
City auctioneer Pat Kearney has mooted the potential location of a kiosk or unit, possibly outside Debenham’s - an idea he first floated over ten years ago when he was Chamber of Commerce president.
“I had proposed a unit underneath the canopy near the entrance to Roches Stores,” he explained.
“If people realised that there was always a garda on duty between 9am-6pm it would give great comfort and reassurance to people, shoppers and shopkeepers, to know that there is somebody in the city centre.”
The city auctioneer pointed to the successful installation of a kiosk unit in Preston in the UK which is equipped to help police combat crime.
“It would be a centre for collecting all kinds of useful information, because the number of people who see things happening or are told things, will never go near a garda station,” explained Mr Kearney.
“It has worked in Preston. Roches Stores were very keen at the time and said they would help out with the construction of the unit in any way they could. We need a presence in the city centre, the great comfort of having a guard on duty there during business hours. It would be reassuring to the public,” he added.
Mr Kearney said he would be repeating the call at a meeting later this week between senior gardai in the city and retailers and business owners to discuss issues relating to policing and security.
That meeting is being facilitated by the Limerick Local Heroes group, who have held meetings with garda representatives and proposed a similar suggestion, offering to locate and equip a city centre retail unit for the gardai to man during business hours.
“It would be very positive and has worked in places like Times Square in New York,” said Nigel Dugdale of the Local Heroes.
“If we had that presence in the city it might help to enhance the communication between the public, retailers and gardai,” he added.
Members of the transport committee at Limerick City Council also floated the idea of a city centre police kiosk last week.
Sgt Peter Kelly of the traffic corps in Henry Street said that city centre police kiosks had been tried in other countries with mixed results.
“They have been taken in in some jurisdictions and disbanded in others,” said Sgt Kelly.
Such a hut had “disappeared” from a pedestrianised street in Liverpool city centre in recent years, the sergeant added.