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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 97 - Community policing fora [14985/07].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 97 - Community policing fora [14985/07]. (24 Apr 2007)

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97. Mr. Boyle asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform  the reason the commitment to set up 14 community policing fora under the 2002 National Drugs Strategy has not been fulfilled; and his views on whether community policing is an essential part of the efforts to control the supply of drugs in local communities. [14985/07]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): Currently funding is made available via the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs to a number of community policing fora which have been set up in the context of the Government’s National Drugs Strategy 2001-2008. The further establishment of community policing fora is being delivered in the context of the policy framework set out under the Garda Síochána Act 2005. This will ensure that such initiatives are developed in an appropriate, coherent and properly planned manner. Under the 2005 Act, Joint Policing Committees (JPCs) are to be established in each of the local authority administrative areas throughout the State, which will bring together representatives from the local authority, Gardaí, public representatives (national and local) and representatives of the community and voluntary sector to discuss and make recommendations on matters affecting the policing of the area, including issues relating to drug misuse. This is a significant new statutory arrangement with regard to how An Garda Síochána and local authorities will interact with elected representatives and representatives from local communities in relation to policing matters.

As the first phase towards implementation, the Government has established pilot JPCs (22) in the following areas: Fingal, Offaly and Wicklow County Councils; Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Waterford City Councils; Drogheda and Sligo Borough Councils; and Athy, Arklow, Ballinasloe, Birr, Bray, Edenderry, Greystones, Letterkenny, Mallow, Tralee, Tuam, Tullamore and Wicklow Town Councils. In Dublin city, five sub-committees corresponding to the operational areas of the City Council are also being established. These are all, at this stage, up and running. During 2007, an evaluation of the pilot phase will be undertaken with the intention that JPCs will be established in all local authority areas in early 2008 and committees will be put in place until the next local elections in 2009. In conjunction with this, section 36 (2) (d) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 provides for the establishment of local policing fora by a JPC where they are deemed necessary. Taking account of these provisions, priority will be given to establishing local policing fora in all Local Drugs Task Force areas and other areas experiencing problems of drug misuse. This will be done in conjunction with the continued implementation of Action 11 of the National Drugs Strategy by An Garda Síochána. All of this reflects the Government’s strong view that community policing fora initiatives continue to play an important role in enhancing drug supply reduction measures being taken under our National Drugs Strategy.

Vol. 636 No. 1 Written Answers, Tuesday, 24 April 2007

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