Home > Dáil Éireann debate. Written answer 549 – Crime prevention [26290/22].

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann debate. Written answer 549 – Crime prevention [26290/22]. (24 May 2022)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2022...

549. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Justice if she will report on her continued work to tackle anti-social behaviour in towns and villages, particularly ahead of the summer months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26290/22]


Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality James Browne: As the Deputy will be aware, the Government is committed to tackling anti-social behaviour (ASB) and a number of priority actions are contained in the Programme for Government and Justice Plan 2022 to reduce instances of such behaviour and help people feel safer in their local communities.


In line with the Programme for Government, I have established an Expert Forum on Anti-Social Behaviour to examine a broad range of issues with a focus on developing measures which will counteract the negative impact of such incidents on community morale and quality of life. Two subgroups have been established under the forum to consider the specific issues of knife crime and the misuse of scramblers and quadbikes. Other subgroups may be established to tackle additional specific issues as required.


The knife crime subgroup has assessed available evidence to inform policy on knife crime, with particular reference as to the effectiveness of proposals, to inform both legislation and community safety policies, programmes and practices. The work of this subgroup is currently being finalised.


Arising from the work of the subgroup on the misuse of scramblers and quadbikes, funding of almost €200,000 is being provided to eight community-based projects to work with young people involved in the anti-social use of scramblers and quad bikes and related crime.


The Deputy will be aware that Budget 2022 includes significant additional funding to support initiatives under the Youth Justice Strategy and the new Community Safety Innovation Fund, €6.7 million and €2 million respectively, which will support community-based initiatives to divert those involved in anti-social or criminal behaviours and guide them towards pro-social behaviours.


Although ASB is sometimes represented as a youth-related problem, crime figures show that relevant offences occur across a wide age range, underlining the need for a considered and evidence informed approach to developing measures to counter ASB.


The budget provided by Government to the Garda Commissioner continues to increase to unprecedented levels, with an allocation of €2 billion in funding for 2022. This includes €12m for investment in the Garda fleet, which means more high-visibility policing in our towns and cities. This continuing investment is intended to ensure that An Garda Síochána has a modern, effective and fit-for-purpose fleet and that Gardaí can be mobile, visible and responsive on the roads and in the community to prevent and tackle crime, including ASB.


An Garda Síochána continues to implement high-visibility policing plans and targeted operations across the country to address public disorder-related issues and ASB, with particular overt and targeted policing of public places at times when public order incidents and anti-social behaviour typically increase, such as bank holiday weekends. For example, Operation Soteria, the national assault reduction strategy, continues nationwide. In addition, on 2 July 2021, An Garda Síochána commenced an enhanced national anti-drugs strategy, Operation Tara, which has a strong focus on tackling street-level dealing throughout rural and urban Ireland.

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