Home > Dáil Éireann debate. Written answer 27 - Crime prevention [Dublin city] [51375/22].

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann debate. Written answer 27 - Crime prevention [Dublin city] [51375/22]. (20 Oct 2022)

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

27. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Justice if she will provide an update on the status of Operation Citizen and high-visibility policing; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51375/22]

Helen McEntee Minister for Justice: As the Deputy will be aware, Operation Citizen was commenced with the aim of reassuring the public that Dublin City Centre is a safe place to visit, to socialise in and in which to conduct business.

I am informed that this operation was launched by An Garda Síochána on 22 October 2021. Operation Citizen delivers a high visibility police presence to Dublin City Centre and aligns with the government's overall aim to ensure people are safe and feel safe. It also focuses on collaborative community and stakeholder engagement, as the positive use of the public area is not just a matter for An Garda Síochána.

For the period 22 October 2021 to 12 October 2022, there were are a total of 3,383 crime incidents recorded under Operation Citizen on the Garda PULSE System. I understand that these incidents are either under active investigation or currently before the Courts.

My Department is committed to ensuring An Garda Síochána have the resources they need to perform their vital role in the community, though the Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the allocation of these resources. In Budget 2023, my Department committed an unprecedented €2.14 billion to An Garda Síochána, an increase of over €78 million on 2022.

As part of Operation Citizen, I am told there are over 20 dedicated Gardaí on foot and mountain bike patrols, who are supported by 12 mobile patrols from Pearse Street, Store Street, Bridewell and Kevin Street Garda Stations. There are in excess of 100 Gardaí deployed to patrol Dublin City Centre every weekend with in excess of 500 additional policing hours provided each week to the area.

I have also been informed that eight Gardaí assigned to this operation full time are specifically patrolling the boardwalk and quays areas between 4pm and 4am daily. These are supported by 30 additional Gardaí on city centre beat patrols and five Regional Armed patrols on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. The Garda National Public Order Unit, which consists of 25 personnel on mobile patrols, also provides support for frontline units where necessary.

Operation Citizen is also supported by a number of different operations currently ongoing in the Dublin City Centre area. These include Operation Saul, which aims to provide a safe environment for commuters travelling in the Dublin Metropolitan Region, and Operation Spire, which tackles on-street drug dealing and anti-social behaviour in the O'Connell Street area.

I am told that under Operation Saul, a total of 116 crime incidents were recorded on the Garda PULSE system between 31 January and 12 October 2022.

Operation Spire is focused between the hours of 8am and 8pm daily and takes a robust targeted approach to all those involved in criminal and anti-social behaviour, particularly drug related activity. The operation also includes liaison activity between DMR North Central and DMR South Central with homeless hostels and drug treatment centres. This is an essential element to responding to drug-related activity, as Garda enforcement alone will only displace the activity to another nearby location.

The Deputy may also be aware that 13A Upper O’Connell Street has been identified as a strategically important piece of infrastructure to enhance An Garda Síochána’s high visibility policing service in Dublin City Centre. 

It is envisaged that the premises will act as a ‘hub’ where Gardaí attached to certain operations such as Operation Citizen and Spire will be able to report for duty at the hub rather than their home station.

I am also informed that The Irish Tourist Assistance Service (ITAS), which provides assistance to tourists who have been the victims of crime, will be co-located at the premises.

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