Almost half of garda stations have no internet

13 Feb 2012

Almost 300 of Ireland’s 700 garda stations have no access to the internet or email, it has been reported.

RTÉ this morning reported on figures contained in a reply to a parliamentary question by Fianna Fail’s justice spokesman Dara Calleary, TD.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has pointed out that while not all of the stations were networked, they could still use secure voice requirements to carry out operational requirements.

The revelation is worrying when you consider how much crime today involves the use of digital technologies, such as broadband and mobile devices.

These technologies could either be the conduit through which crime occurs or is organised, and provide the means through which evidence may be gathered.

While the gardai have specialist units who can use technology to combat crimes such as child pornography, violence, incitement to hatred, stalking and human or drug trafficking, access to the internet for efficiency’s sake surely matters?

Add local knowledge to a situation that may be brewing on a social network or something that appears in a YouTube video and surely you have a potent additional weapon in the average garda’s arsenal?

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years