Over 290 gardaí injured while on duty so far this year
The number of gardaí injured on duty has significantly increased year-on-year between 2012 and 2016, new figures from the Department of Justice show.
So far in 2017, a total of 293 gardaí have been injured, while 660 gardaí were injured while on duty last year, up from 406 in 2012. The figures have steadily increased over the past five years, with 518 gardaí injured in 2013, and 637 in 2015
The figures were released in a parliamentary question to Deputy Bernard Durkan TD, upon request from the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan.
Since 2007, a total of 5,417 members of An Garda Siochána have been injured on duty and five lost their lives on duty. They included Garda Adrian Donohoe, who was shot dead during a botched raid in Bellurgan in 2013, and Garda Tony Golden, who was killed by Adrian Crevan Mackin during a domestic dispute in Omeath.
The justice minister’s department was unable to give specific details on the nature of the injuries to the gardaí.
Speaking to the Irish Times, a spokesman for the Garda Representative Association (GRA) said they believe the figures “grossly underestimate assaults that frontline, individual Garda suffer on a daily basis”.
“Bites, grazes, and bruising are the most common injuries suffered by gardaí, followed by sprains, strains, closed fractures and open wounds” the spokesman said.
The GRA said 526 gardaí have been injured in road traffic collisions, and 122 in manual handling incidents since 2012.
In the years following the economic recession the reduced number of frontline Garda contributed to members taking on larger workloads, which may have “contributed to a rise in attacks and subsequent injuries,” according to the GRA spokesman.
The GRA spokesman said gardaí should be provided with body cameras to record incidents where members of the force are assaulted or injured.
The police force should also be issued and trained to use non-lethal tasers, to combat the threat of injury from an individual with a knife or weapon.
“Currently gardaí are a helpless, slow moving bulls-eye target for any criminal with an implement, knife or gun” the GRA spokesman said.
The representative body are calling for a greater provision of bulletproof vests for gardaí.
“Unarmed gardaí protecting feud targets for example, have been denied their repeated requests for updated bulletproof vests,” the spokesman said.
“Updated and dual function, knife and ballistic proof vests, must now be issued to all front-line gardaí if further injury or even death, is to be prevented,” he added.
In total 5,968 incidents have been recorded where gardaí were injured while carrying out their duties since 2005.