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Connolly, Johnny (2005) The Blanchardstown Community Policing Forum. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 13, Spring 2005 , pp. 14-15.

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A report proposing the establishment of a community policing forum in the Blanchardstown Local Drugs Task Force area was launched by Noel Ahern TD, minister of state with responsibility for the national drugs strategy, on 22 November 2004.

The proposal to establish a community policing forum in Blanchardstown coincides with the ongoing debate on the Garda Síochána Bill 2004. The Bill, which is currently before the Oireachtas, proposes the establishment of joint policing committees at city or county development board level, made up of representatives of An Garda Síochána, the local authority, politicians and other relevant bodies or persons. It is intended that these committees will facilitate the establishment of local policing fora to address specific issues in local areas.

Two other community policing fora have already been established in the context of the national drugs strategy, one in the Finglas–Cabra task force area and one in the North Inner City.1 Also, the Garda Commissioner has established a community policing forum in Dublin’s ‘A’ Garda district on a pilot basis.

The purpose of the Blanchardstown report, Developing integrated policing: the Blanchardstown Community Policing Forum, was to build upon an earlier policing seminar held in Blanchardstown in April 2004. The purpose of that seminar was to consider the implications of the Garda Síochána Bill 2004 in terms of local policing needs. The seminar heard submissions from Michael Mc Dowell TD, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy; Denis Bradley, Vice Chairman of the Northern Ireland Policing Board; William Soffe of Fingal County Council; Ivana Bacik, Reid Professor of Criminal Law and Criminology at Trinity College; and Ann Losty, local resident and chairperson of the greater Blanchardstown response to drugs group.

The report reviews a range of studies on the nature of local crime and policing problems and then considers other community policing approaches, in particular those initiated in Northern Ireland following the recommendations of the Independent Commission on Policing (the Patten Report), and developments in the north Dublin inner city. Following a consideration of the provisions of the Garda Síochána Bill and the policing objectives as set out in the national drugs strategy 2001–2008, the report makes a number of recommendations with regard to the structure and process of a local community policing forum.

The report highlights an issue that arose during the policing seminar relating to community concerns as to the precise status and future role of the policing fora which are already in existence throughout the city or which are in the process of being developed, as in Blanchardstown. The status of policing fora established prior to the enactment of the legislation remains unclear. In order to ensure that such lingering doubts are not permitted to undermine ongoing attempts to develop community policing fora, the report recommends that this matter be clarified by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

The day after the report launch, in response to a parliamentary question on the progress made to date in establishing community policing fora, Minister McDowell stated: ‘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. Work is well under way on the development of such a policy framework.’2

1. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 8, June 2003.

2. Dáil Debates. Written Answers. 23 November 2004, Vol. 593 No. 1, Col. 370.

 A copy of this report, written by Johnny Connolly of the Drug Misuse Research Division, can be obtained from the Blanchardstown Local Drugs Task Force, or downloaded from the National Document Centre on Drug Use website at https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie

Item Type:Article
Issue Title:Issue 13, Spring 2005
Date:January 2005
Page Range:pp. 14-15
Publisher:Health Research Board
Volume:Issue 13, Spring 2005
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Available)
Subjects:MM-MO Crime and law > Justice system > Law enforcement agency > Police (Garda)
MM-MO Crime and law > Justice system > Community anti-crime or legal assistance programme > Community policing
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland > Dublin

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