A NEW initiative which will see gardai carrying out highly visible beat patrols in towns and villages across Limerick has been officially launched.
The Limerick County Beats initiative, which will run over the summer, will see gardai from the Newcastle West and Bruff districts come together in a co-ordinated way.
“What we are looking to do is encourage our members on the ground to take out short patrols in areas of high density such as schools, public amenities, shopping areas and housing estates so essentially being in the right pace at the right time,” explained Inspector Andrew Lacey.
The Limerick community bus, which was jointly funded by gardai and the local authority last year, will also be deployed across the two garda districts as part of the pilot initiative,
“What we are going to do is we are going to deploy some additional resources one day a week to go and visit villages and towns throughout County Limerick to make gardai more accessible to the people of those areas,” added Insp Lacey.
Inspector Pat Brennan, who is stationed in Bruff, is encouraging members of the public to engage with gardai when they visit their local community.
“This is to show a friendly face to the organisation and that we are here to help. The county is a big area so the use of the bus will facilitate the moving from one town or village to another on the same day. We will park up in towns and villages, walk around on foot and meet the people and engage in any way we can,” he told the Limerick Leader.
“If you travel from Abbeyfeale to Newcastle West and over to Kilmallock, Cappamore and Murroe you have a huge geographical area to cover and heretofore with busy calls gardai just didn’t have the opportunity so with the use of the community bus we certainly hope to have a presence on a much more frequent basis in villages and in the bigger towns,” he added.
The new initiative, which will be operated in addition to routine policing requirements, has been welcomed by the Mayor of the City and County of Limerick.
“It’s been tough over the past 12 months for gardai and the public and the visibility of the gardai is very very important and as a public representative I have been working very closely with them and it great to see that they are introducing this initiative to ensure they have more visible policing in the county,” said Cllr Michael Collins.
“This will put gardai in touch with rural communities and it will put rural communities in touch with the gardai and they will get to know them, hopefully, by first names and it will give people great confidence,” he added.