A former Garda detective has said that “stop & search” policies may be needed to deal with a surge of knife crime in Dublin, giving police the right to stop, question and search citizens at any time.
Speaking to Newstalk this week, ex-Garda Pat Marry told of how knife crime has been getting worse in Ireland.
“Knife crime has always existed, and I know in my time as a Guard there was many’s a case of stabbings,” he said.
“But it appears now, and especially from media, that there’s a lot more knife crime and a lot more people dying as a result of the use of knives,” adding that both victims and perpetrators tended to range in age from “anything from maybe 18 to 24 years of age.”
He continued: “I believe that, initially, there should be a policy of stop and search”.
Stop and search, in short, means police have the right to stop, question and search citizens at any time. The policy has been implemented in the UK during their knife crime epidemic, and also in New York in the US.
— Ben Scallan 🇮🇪 (@Ben_Scallan) August 13, 2021
Crime dropped under stop-and-frisk, which is worth remembering in the rush to criticize it, writes Lawrence Rosenthal.
NYC went too far with the practice, but it helped reduce a crime rate that damaged communities far more than the tactics police used.https://t.co/uObL9WTPqy
— NBC News THINK (@NBCNewsTHINK) March 7, 2020
However, Marry said one potential difficulty would be that Gardaí would have to have reasonable cause.
“But if there is a situation that has arisen that knife crime is a big part of crime at the moment, there has to be changes to the law to provide for the Guards to stop and search. It’s only one aspect of it,” he said.
“An amnesty should be a tool to get young people talking about knife crime and the dangers and consequences of carrying knives. A person caught with a knife should have to undertake a knife crime awareness course.”
He went on to say that this course should involve individuals carrying knives being confronted by the families of knife victims and the victims themselves, and being allocated a mentor. He said that anyone caught with a knife after this course should receive a mandatory two year sentence.