Offaly drink driving arrests spiral by 41%

an increase of 41% in the number of those arrested for drink driving was recorded in Offaly in the first four months of this year.

an increase of 41% in the number of those arrested for drink driving was recorded in Offaly in the first four months of this year.

At Monday’s meeting of the Joint Policing Committee it was revealed by Superintendent David Kavanagh that the figure was up compared to the same period in 2011.

“Drink driving is a matter of concern. The trend had been down,” outlined Supt Kavanagh who said more effort of late had been put into drink driving prevention.

Operation Focus was carried out in the region recently which concentrated on driving and the condition of vehicles. “It is a trend we are watching,” he said.

Theft and related offences were also up 6%.

However, across the board, the report was good for Offaly. Overall crime was down by 22% in the county, down 18% in Birr and 24% in Tullamore.

Burglaries were also down by 5.4%. The total number of robberies however had doubled from three to six.

There were three incidents of robbery of the person, two in Tullamore and one in Birr.

Theft and related offenced were up 6%, This represented increases of 2% of theft from the person, from the shop up 7%, from the vehicle up 13% and other crimes were down 9%.

Supt Kavanagh said there was an issue with theft from the vehicle especially at cemeteries where people are leaving handbags and property on view in cars. He said this was also happening with people out fishing or walking and parking up their cars with valuable items on display.

Fraud was down buy 22% and there were 12 more vehicles taken between January and April of this year compared to the same time in 2011.

Supt Kavanagh also told members that public order incidents were down by 19% in Offaly, 38% in Birr and 31% in Tullamore.

Aggravated assaults recorded a drop of 6% while criminal damage by fire was up by six incidents.

Possession of drugs with the intent to sell or supply offences were down by 47% and simple possession of drugs for personal use was down 16%.

The Birr Superintendent informed members that Birr District Court will be taking part in the Restorative Justice Programme.

Restorative justice is a victim- and community-oriented approach requiring the perpetrator to face up to the harm he or she has caused and repair or make good the damage done. Restorative justice puts the victim at the centre of the process.

With the increase in thefts from shops up, Supt Kavanagh said there was a business watch programme in operation in Birr, Edenderry and Tullamore which included a texting process, that was proactive rather than reactive.

Cllr Molly Buckley paid tribute to Supt Kavanagh who will retire at the end of June. She said he had done a lot of work in Birr and the local area.

Supt Kavangh thanked local representatives and the local authorities for their support over the past tow years. He said he “thoroughly enjoyed his 31 years in an Garda Siochana” and was “looking forward to a new phase” in his life.