Irish Policy on Robbery

Operation Thor, which was launched by An Garda Síochána (Irish Police Service) on 2 November 2015, is a multi-stranded national operation which entails a broad range of activities to tackle burglars, organised crime gangs and prolific offenders as well as working with communities to prevent crime. These activities include:

  • Additional high-visibility patrols in identified burglary hot-spots;
  • Increased use of checkpoints to tackle the criminal gangs using the national road network;
  • The use of new high powered vehicles by the armed Regional Response Units;
  • Efforts to disrupt the stolen goods market;
  • Programmes to help reduce re-offending by prolific offenders;
  • A high-profile national crime prevention awareness campaign; and
  • Targeted crime prevention advice for local communities and enhanced supports for victims.

This comprehensive operation by Irish Police, supported by Government investment in police resources and personnel, has disrupted the activities of burglars, organised crime gangs and prolific offenders and has improved the safety of all our communities across the Republic of Ireland.

This is the fifth year of the implementation of Operation THOR “Winter Phase.” International evidence has established that a surge in burglaries of about 20% is likely to arise in the winter months when daylight hours are at the lowest level. An Garda Síochána’s operational plan for a Winter Phase of Operation Thor, involves the undertaking of targeted enforcement and preventative activity, designed to prevent potential burglars from exploiting reduced hours of daylight.

The Garda Síochána Analysis Service found that residential burglaries, nationally, fell by 50% from Winter 14/15 (12,057) to Winter 18/19 (5,997), under the Winter Phase of Operation Thor. The year on year reduction is almost 10% from 6,613 residential burglaries during Winter 17/18 to 5,997 during Winter 18/19.

Operation THOR pro-actively targets organised crime gangs and repeat offenders through coordinated crime prevention and enforcement activity based on intelligence and the latest crime trends and patterns to protect communities.

Operation Thor Winter Phase will continue to focus on five main areas to reduce burglary incidents and protect communities:

  • Crime investigations and operations: This sees a range of activities including the targeting at national, regional and divisional level of organised crime gangs and prolific offenders; enhanced covert surveillance; disrupting the stolen goods market; high visibility checkpoints and roads policing supported by ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) technology to limit the use of the road network by offenders.
  • Crime prevention: Crime trend analysis will be used to identify burglary hot-spots and extra high-visibility patrols will then be put into those areas, targeted crime prevention advice will be given to local communities, bail conditions of prolific offenders will be closely monitored, and programmes will be put in place to help reduce re-offending by prolific offenders. Data from the Garda Analysis Service shows that 75% of burglaries are carried out by 25% of offenders.
  • Victims Support: Victims will be provided with support and advice, and will be kept updated as their case progresses through the justice system. Burglary victims will be provided with crime prevention advice to reduce the risk of re-victimisation.
  • Education and awareness: An Garda Síochána will utilise social media, community engagement and organised campaigns to inform people on how they can enhance the security of their homes and property. An Garda Síochána will continue the national ‘Lock Up. Light Up’ campaign supported by local awareness activity.
  • Working in partnership: An Garda Síochána will continue to work with partner agencies; The Courts Service and Probation Service on programmes to reduce re-offending by prolific criminals; community-based organisation such as the IFA, Neighbourhood Watch, Munitir na Tire and Crimestoppers to prevent crime. Our most important partnership is with the community and working with them through schemes such as Neighbourhood Watch, TextAlert and Community Alert Schemes.