Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 156, 159 & 162 - Garda operations [10902/15, 10906/15, 10914/15],

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 156, 159 & 162 - Garda operations [10902/15, 10906/15, 10914/15],. (20 Mar 2015)

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156. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her future plans to tackle the problem of drug dealing and the increase in the sale and supply of drugs in residential areas within Dublin's north inner city, particularly in the context of the success of Operation Spire, which has led to the level of drug dealing in O'Connell Street and its environs falling sharply; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [10902/15]

 

159. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her views on the implementation and operation of the small areas policing initiative within the north central division of the Dublin metropolitan region; when will a similar initiative be rolled out across all Garda divisions in the region; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [10906/15]

 

162. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality about the success of Operation Spire within the north central division of the Dublin metropolitan region; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [10914/15]

 

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I propose to take Questions Nos. 156, 159 and 162 together.

 

I can assure the Deputy that I am in ongoing contact with the Garda Commissioner in relation to the policing measures which are being taken to deal with crime, drug dealing and public safety in the city centre area. The Deputy will appreciate, however, that the specific policing responses to the issues he has outlined are a matter for the Commissioner in the first instance.

 

A range of operations and other measures are in place in relation to tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, including drug dealing, in the North Inner City. These include Operation Spire, which provides for a high visibility policing presence specifically on O’Connell Street at critical times to address anti-social behaviour, drug dealing and related crime. The operation is designed as a preventative measure and the area is patrolled by uniform patrols supplemented as required by Crime Prevention Unit and Divisional Crime Task Force personnel. Additional resources are deployed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

 

Provisional Garda figures for 2014 show that in the North Inner City there were 16,338 searches under the Misuse of Drugs Act and that there were 871 detections for possession of drugs for personal use (an increase of 68% on 2013) and 830 detections for possession of drugs for sale and supply (an increase of 116% on 2013). Early figures for the present year indicate continuing Garda success in detecting drugs offences.

 

In relation to the displacement of drug related activity to other parts of the North City I am advised that local Garda management has increased the number of personnel attached to the divisional drug unit to counteract this recent trend. I am assured that Gardaí will continue to provide a pro-active response to drug dealing in residential areas. The Small Areas Policing Initiative which has been piloted initially in the North Inner City adds further to the local policing response. The approach taken under this initiative involves assigning responsibility to nominated Community Gardaí for a specific Community Policing Area of 50 - 200 dwellings, aligned to the applicable Small Area as defined by the CSO. The Deputy will appreciate that, as with any question of detailed Garda deployment and resource management, it is a matter for the Garda Commissioner to evaluate the scheme and consider its benefits as compared to other community policing models as well as its potential for implementation in other areas. I expect to receive further updates in this regard on an ongoing basis.

 

Finally, the Deputy will be aware that the Garda response to the specific issues raised by him form part of overall and ongoing implementation of the Dublin City Centre Policing Plan. This involves a high-visibility uniformed presence on key thoroughfares, as well as the use of undercover Gardaí as appropriate. In addition a new multi-agency street outreach approach is being used to work with vulnerable and high-risk individuals and an offender management programme is being piloted to address repeat offending in the Dublin City area. These measures, combined with the Government's initiatives to tackle homelessness, are helping to address the broader aspects of the problems referred to by the Deputy.

Item Type:Dail Debates
Source:Oireachtas
Date:20 March 2015
EndNote:View
Subjects:MM-MO Crime and law > Crime prevention
MM-MO Crime and law > Law enforcement and the justice system
MM-MO Crime and law > Justice system > Community anti-crime or legal assistance programme
MM-MO Crime and law > Justice system > Law enforcement agency > Police (Garda)
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland > Dublin

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