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Home > 39. Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his Department funds the community policing forum here. [3559/06]

[Oireachtas] 39. Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his Department funds the community policing forum here. [3559/06]. (02 Feb 2006)

URL: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2006/02/02/00048...


Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): Funding is made available through the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs to several community policing fora which have arisen in the context of the Government’s national drugs strategy. Two such fora operate on a pilot basis under the aegis of the north inner city and Finglas-Cabra local drugs task forces respectively. The north inner city community policing forum was established in 1999 and operates in Dublin’s north east inner city area. This project receives annual funding of €78,778 through the local drugs task force initiative. In addition, the north inner city task force initiated an additional pilot project in 2004 which involves extending the work of the original policing forum within the wider task force area. This project extension receives annual funding of €67,896. Dublin City Council acts as a channel of funding to the north inner city projects. Similarly, a community policing forum under the aegis of the Finglas-Cabra local drugs task force was established as a pilot initiative in 2003. This project also receives annual funding of €51,584 through the local drugs task force initiative. The Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform is the channel of funding for this initiative. The community policing forum in Dublin’s “A” Garda district, Kevin Street - Kilmainham, was established by the Commissioner in 2000 on a pilot basis following extensive consultations between the gardaí and community interests. No specific allocation of funding was made for this forum and the forum did not provide a funded co-ordinator on a similar basis to fora operating under the local drugs task force initiative. I outlined the position with regard to the non-funding of co-ordinators for these fora from Garda funds in reply to previous questions from Deputy Costello on 9 December 2003 and from Deputy Kenny on 23 November 2004. I should point out that, as an exceptional measure, the Garda Commissioner made a small contribution to the Rialto Forum towards an outstanding invoice early in 2005. The establishment of community policing fora, in general, needs to be delivered in the context of an appropriate policy framework for what will be relatively new partnership structures involving the gardaí, local authorities and local communities to deal with a range of issues of mutual concern. Such a framework will ensure that community policing fora are developed in an appropriate, consistent and properly planned manner. The Garda Síochána Act 2005 provides a statutory basis for enhanced co-operation between the gardaí and local authorities through the establishment of joint policing committees, in accordance with guidelines issued by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform to local authorities and the Commissioner after consulting the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. A joint policing committee will be a forum for local authorities and the Garda Síochána to discuss matters affecting policing of the local authorities administrative areas. Work is under way, involving my Department, the Garda Síochána, the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, on finalising draft guidelines for the joint policing committees. The guidelines will include provisions on resourcing the committees. It is anticipated that several joint policing committees will be established on a pilot basis and will begin to function this year. A sum of €100,000 has been made available in the Garda Vote to support the work of these committees in 2006. The Act also provides that a joint policing committee may establish, in consultation with the local Garda superintendent, as the committee considers necessary within specific neighbourhoods, local policing fora. It is intended that supplemental guidelines for such policing fora will be made at a later date.

Vol. 613 No. 5
Written Answers
Thursday, 2 February 2006

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