An Garda Síochána Seizes Over 17,000 Knives in 10 Years - Tóibín
N.B. Parliamentary Question below.
Speaking today, Tóibín said “According to a response to a Parliamentary Question I issued, An Garda Síochána has seized over 17,000 knives in the past decade. At one level the work of the Gardaí is to be welcomed. Taking these knives off the street has saved lives. But it also shows that there is a significant and worsening problem of knives on our streets. These figures show a 60% increase in knife seizures over the past 10 years. That’s an enormous increase”.
Tóibín continued “In recent years, there have been peaks in the number of individuals being treated in hospitals for knife assault injuries, particularly in 2019 and 2021. This increase in knife-related assaults is very concerning, and some members of An Garda Síochána believe it is a sign of increased knife-carrying, particularly among young males.”
“The Government will say that more knives have been found because there are more Gardaí. But this is no true. Ireland has one of the lowest number of police per capita in the EU. And given the population increase the number of Gardaí per capita is static since 2016 when it was hammered by the austerity closure of Templemore. We need to do more we need to consider a knife amnesty and we need more Gardaí in our streets now, concluded Tóibín. ENDS
To ask the Minister for Justice the number of times that members of An Garda Síochána seized knives in each of the past ten years in tabular form.
As the Deputy will be aware, under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 (as amended), the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the management and administration of Garda business, including all operational policing matters. As Minister, I play no role in these independent functions.
To be of assistance to the Deputy, I have contacted the Garda Authorities for the information requested and I have been advised that for the years in question, the number of knives seized by An Garda Síochána are as follows:
2013 - 1341
2014 - 1341
2015 - 1357
2016 - 1210
2017 - 1617
2019 - 2146
2020 - 2257
2021 - 1832
2021 - 2132
A search of the PULSE database was conducted on 10 January 2023 to identify any object of sub-type ‘knife’ linked as ‘seized’ with any incident reported nationwide since 1 January 2013. Figures are based upon operational data from the PULSE system as was available on 10 January 2023 and are liable to change.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that the 2016-2018 increase in recorded seizures is due in large part to the introduction of the Property and Exhibit Management System (PEMS) in 2016, which improved the level of recording of all objects seized, including knives. The increase may also be partly attributed to the increase in frontline resources due to additional recruitment and redeployment of members following the reopening of the Garda College in 2015.
Additionally, increases in seizures in recent years are also due to proactive policing operations, particularly during 2020, with the increased Garda presence in support of the COVID-19 public health measures. There was a 5.3% increase in the number of knives seized between 2019 and 2020 (2,146 in 2019 and 2,257 in 2020).
There was also a substantial year-on-year increase in the number of searches conducted in 2020, many of which were associated with An Garda Síochána’s high visibility operations supporting the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated Garda operations (such as Operation Fanacht).