Written Answers. - Road Traffic Offences.

Seán Haughey

Question:

854 Mr. Haughey asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the measures he is taking to tackle the problem of joyriding in Dublin suburbs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19215/00]

I am very aware of the damage done to local communities by the scourge of so called ‘joyriding'.

I have been assured by the Garda authorities that they are satisfied that the provisions of the Road Traffic Acts, 1961-1993, as enforced by them are adequate to deal with situations where persons use or take possession of mechanically propelled vehicles without the consent of the owner.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that they continually monitor trends in unauthorised takings with a view to identifying and targeting both persistent offenders and areas prone to such activities. Some of the local responses to joyriding include "Operation Steering Wheel" which was developed by the Garda authorities to deal specifically with the problem of joyriding in Coolock. The operation is ongoing and comprises uniform, foot and mobile patrols targeting specific locations on a nightly basis. A special resource unit comprising one sergeant and eight gardaí was established to specifically target incidents of joyriding in West Tallaght. Each Garda division also has a traffic unit which outside of peak traffic hours targets incidents of joyriding.
In addition I am informed by the Garda authorities that An Garda Síochána is actively involved in a number of diversion programmes or projects, which my Department funds, with a view to diverting juveniles away from this type of crime. These programmes or projects involve not only the Garda but also local community groups and other agencies. I am also informed that juvenile liaison officers and community gardaí avail of every opportunity during the course of their work, particularly in implementing the schools programme, to educate young people to the dangers posed by joyriding. I am further informed that the garda is also involved in the south Dublin inter-agency steering group on joyriding and anti-social activity. The Garda is also involved in a task force to address the problem in the Coolock area.
Other initiatives the Garda is promoting to deal with joyriding include the crime prevention through environmental design concept which involves a Garda crime prevention officer liaising with local authorities, town planners and communities at the development stage of new estates and parks. This can involve effecting physical changes such as barriers and speed ramps to reduce access to areas frequented by youths engaged in these activities.
As the Deputy will appreciate, a wide range of measures are being deployed by An Garda Síochána to combat the problem of joyriding and to discharge its role in maintaining law and order. I am further assured that the Garda has been in the past and will continue to be proactive in dealing with such problems both by way of direct action through detection and prevention through the numerous diversion and referral schemes.
The Deputy will also appreciate that at a time when record numbers of new cars are being purchased other organisations have a role to play in ensuring that scrapped vehicles are disposed of properly, responsibly and safely.