Kieran Foley reports
WATERFORD Gardaí have described the issue of people carrying offensive weapons such as knives and screwdrivers as a “serious difficulty”.
At the Waterford City & County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting held last week in Dungarvan, Garda figures for the year to date were presented to councillors.
The figures included an increase in the number of people carrying offensive weapons.
While such figures had reduced last year, Superintendent Chris Delaney noted that they were “starting to creep up again” this year.
So far this year, there have been 18 detections of people carrying offensive weapons compared to 11 for the same period last year.
Supt Delaney said Gardaí had “serious difficulty” with people carrying items such as knives, screwdrivers etc.
“We see serious offences occurring as a result of this,” he said.
“People are receiving lengthy prison sentences because of 20 seconds of madness. They may have taken drink or drugs and then produce one of these weapons and before you know it, they’re into a ten year sentence for serious injury.”
He said there was a pattern of younger people being found with offensive weapons.
Cllr John O’Leary (FF) said he was “baffled” by the fact that people carry offensive weapons.
He asked if there was an explanation or a trend associated with such actions.
“It baffles me that somebody has a shower, puts on their best clothes, and before they go out and leave their home they bring a knife or some type of offensive weapon with them,” he said.
In response, Supt Chris Delaney said people “are making excuses” when they are found with offensive weapons.
“The most common excuse is that they were using the weapon for their own protection,” he said.
However, he said such an excuse “doesn’t wash with anyone”.
“A smaller percentage use the excuse that they are involved in a trade,” he added.
“The law can excuse that to an extent but the person has to prove it in court.”