A thin blue and heavily armed line

Garda Inspector Kathleen O’Toole is recommending the deployment of “less than lethal weapons.”

Uniformed gardai could be using pepper spray devices within the next two months, and highly controversial “less than lethal” weapons… The recommendations for these weapons, which are widely used by other police forces, were made in the report by Garda Inspector Kathleen O’Toole last year.

Why do the gardai need these weapons?

the decision some years ago to remove height restrictions for entry into the Garda has meant there are a considerable number of gardai who just don’t have the physical capability to restrain many violent young men.

Couldn’t they just put the height restrictions back in place? I’m guessing Brussels would come down like a ton of bricks on Dublin for discriminating against members of a sex who tend to be shorter than members of another sex.

In my lifetime, upping the arsenal of police officers have been a total red herring, seemingly (and perhaps actually) necessary only because of failed policies in other areas. Arming gardai with pepper spray isn’t going to roll back Ireland’s growing gang culture or deter street thugs. A quarter century ago Swedish police officers carried pitiful little 7.65 mm handguns and in extreme situations they could turn to an out dated Swedish-made submachinegun. Nowadays they have 9 mm pistols, pepper spray, telescopic nightsticks, MP5 guns and high grade body armor. But the more heavily armed cops haven’t made much of a dent on the many more or less foreign gangs that have put down roots in the country over the past couple of decades, nor on free agent criminals like bank robbers.