Written Answers. - Crime Prevention.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

13 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he intends to introduce new measures to deal with the problem of joyriding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17113/03]

I refer the Deputy to my answer to Questions Nos. 43 and 117 on 6 February last in which I outlined the strategies in place to tackle the problem of so-called joyriding.

The gardaí have informed me that, in their view, the most effective way of combating this type of crime is through targeted operations in areas that have been identified as potential hot spots for ‘joyriding'. In these operations, specialist patrols and vehicles are concentrated in such areas to deal with public order and ‘joyriding' incidents.

In addition, persons serving prison sentences for persistent offences related to ‘joyriding' offences are not granted early temporary release from prison except in the most exceptional circumstances.

The gardaí are constantly liaising with community groups and a number of projects are in operation which have proved valuable in dealing with offenders. The Garda and local authorities are working together in relation to estate management and reducing the opportunities for ‘joyriding'. For example, as the Deputy will be aware, physical changes such as barriers and speed ramps are being used to reduce access to areas frequented by youths engaged in these activities.

Cars without tax and insurance are impounded by the gardaí and removed to compounds. In the Dublin metropolitan region, there is a dedicated car compound located at the Talbot complex in Santry. Car compounds are being provided at all newly built divisional-district headquarters provided that there is sufficient physical space on the site.

On abandoned cars, the Waste Management Act 1996 specifically prohibits the abandonment of vehicles on any land and empowers local authorities to deal appropriately with the abandoned vehicles. The enforcement and implementation of these provisions is a matter for the individual local authorities. I understand that, in general, the local authorities which provide this service have entered into agreements with locally permitted operators to take the vehicles in question for dismantling and/or recovery.
The Garda authorities have assured me that they are satisfied the provisions of the Road Traffic Acts 1961 to 2002 are adequate to deal with situations where persons use or take possession of mechanically propelled vehicles without the consent of the owner.
As I have said before, there is no doubt that this is a complex issue with no easy solutions. While requiring significant inputs from the criminal justice system, this issue can only be tackled to lasting effect through a multi-faceted and multi-agency response involving both the community and relevant statutory bodies.