Thursday, 29 January 2004

Questions (159)

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

159 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps he has taken to combat the menace of crime, organised or otherwise, in Dublin and throughout the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2647/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

I am informed by the Garda Síochána that its strategy to tackle organised crime involves the utilisation of specialised national units dedicated to the investigation-detection of such types of crime. These units are the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Garda National Drugs Unit, the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, the Criminal Assets Bureau and the Garda National Immigration Bureau, all of which operate under the control and direction of an Assistant Commissioner in charge of national support services.

These units investigate every aspect of organised crime and in conjunction with the special detective unit are constantly involved in operations to interrupt the flow of firearms to criminal groupings. On this latter issue, I should add that I am currently undertaking a review of firearms control policy with the intention of introducing legislation in this area. The security of weapons held legitimately by individuals or dealers will be central to this review.

The Garda Síochána in general, and specifically all national units, work together in common cause in the investigation of serious and organised crime in accordance with the strategic goals of the Garda Síochána. Measures taken to combat crime, in general, include: CCTV systems which have proved to be a very effective deterrent; Garda youth diversion projects that adopt a multi-agency partnership approach to tackling crime and anti-social behaviour at community level; and a new city centre policing initiative was launched on 9 June 2003 by the Assistant Garda Commissioner for the Dublin metropolitan region. This initiative provides high visibility policing presence in specific target areas in the north and south inner city centre areas. It targets issues of concern such as public order, assaults, street theft, shoplifting, addicts, beggars and general vagrancy.

The Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 2002 gives significant additional powers when dealing with drunken disorder. All sections of the Intoxicating Liquor Act came into operation in 2003.