New figures have revealed that only one extra community garda has been added to the Swords station in the last decade despite the population increasing by 20%.
Information released by the Department of Justice, following a Parliamentary Question from Cllr Paul Mulville, show how police numbers have not kept pace with the population increase in the area covered by Swords Garda Station.
The station covers the towns of Swords, Donabate, Portrane and the rural area of South Fingal as far as Coolquay. The latest census figures are expected to show a 10% increase in the population of Swords from 39,000 in 2016.
This means the town has increased its population by roughly 7,000 people since 2011 and gained just one community garda in that time.
The figures show there were seven Gardaí and one Sergeant in the Swords Community Policing Unit in December 2011. The latest figures available reveal that there are now eight Gardaí with one sergeant in the Swords Community Policing unit.
Commenting on the figures, Chair of the Fingal Joint Policing Committee Cllr Ian Carey said:
“These figures suggest that policing in Swords could be about to reach breaking point.
“For too long we have ignored the rising population in Swords and allowed Garda numbers to flatline. We cannot wait for burglaries, assaults and anti-social behaviour to get out of hand before we do something about this. We need to act now.
“That’s why I’m calling for Swords Garda Station to be made its own district. It beggars belief that Swords continues to be a sub-district of Coolock. Swords is a fast growing county town with its own large rural hinterland – it has its own policing challenges that are far removed from Coolock.
“We need key garda decision makers right in Swords and greater numbers of rank and file to deal with issues as they arise.”