Some weeks ago, my partner and I sat in a cafe locally. We spoke to other neighbours. Naturally we covered various topics when up came the recent crime wave in Ireland and especially the number of murders. One neighbour asked me a very interesting question: How many Gardai in your local station do you know by first name? Now, I did not reply with the full Monty because for all the wrong reasons and the wrong is not with me, I know a lot of them, I replied. His question was quite interesting so my partner asked our friends the same question. What came next was no surprise because Ireland has changed and not for the better in more ways than one. Our neighbours did not know one Garda in the two local stations. One went on to say she has never witnessed a Garda on the beat in years, only in exceptional circumstances like Embassy duty, Rugby matches and of course at Christmas but all year round to see a Garda on the beat is literally like seeing a white blackbird. They are not there. Whatever Garda HQ say it is just not happening that the Gardai are engaging at a personal level with the communities they represent.
I witnessed in the Dail this week a Sinn Fein TD outlining the massive increase in the violent crimes in Cork and how a bunch of youngsters could literally close a street down for a couple of hours by using the smartphones. The people do not know their local Gardai and the reasons are not as complex as Charlie Flanagan and the Bunch of Clown in Kildare Street are putting out as excuses. The Gardai are going around in their cars. Sadly they don’t come across professionally or trained in social skills. To be blunt, many of them are not just arrogant; they are downright yobs. Now let us not forget that there are decent Gardai who go to work each day and who take their job seriously to protect the person and their property in accordance with the Oath they gave. These decent Gardai work under the radar and do some fine work and they solve some serious crimes without doubt but sadly the people are not seeing these Gardai instead what they see is the behaviour of the yobs with their ego and arrogance and total detachment from the people they are supposed to serve. I will give you an example: a couple of years ago I came across a box of bolts, nuts and other tools on a road in my local district. I went down to the Brook and this puppet of a Garda came out; no manners and the words he used were this “What do you want me to do with them?”. I replied that I found them and that I was at the station to give them in, which is the norm. Some tradesman may come looking for them and I am sure he will be delighted that someone handed them into the station. This yob took them off me, refused to give me a receipt but unknown to him he was on my smartphone and so was his attitude. Sadly the local stations are becoming hostile and somebody in senior management should have a deeper look at this type of behaviour. I won’t name the clown I dealt with. He is not worth it. 12 months later I came across him as an observer in a squad car. I knew it was 13 months and a day over and I asked him about the package. He laughed and shouted from the car “I’ll have them fucking gift wrapped for you”. This is what people have to deal with on a daily basis. I repeat not all Gardai are like this but there are a large number out there with a very bad attitude.
I will conclude watching Crime Call on Monday night, I was a bit bemused because every Garda being interviewed had the same line to the public. We need your help: We need your help: Keep the calls coming in. Well now maybe if there was a major change in attitude and more social skills they could possibly get more interaction and help from the public. Fred