Community policing initiatives make a significant contribution to combating joy-riding and to reducing anti-social behaviour in Coolock and other areas. Community policing initiatives provide a forum for the evolution of crime prevention programmes and for joint enterprises between the community and the local gardaí in combating local policing problems.
Community policing initiatives have, furthermore, consolidated the partnership approach to policing in the community through which the gardaí liaise with community groups and a number of projects are in operation which have proved effective in dealing with the scourge of joy-riding, which has been a particular problem in the Coolock area.
With regard to projects in the Coolock area, the Woodale project caters for persons at risk from either crime or anti-social activity. This project, which is a Coolock Garda initiative funded by my Department, caters for 18 juveniles who have been referred through the juvenile liaison officer scheme and the probation and welfare service. The objective of the project is to divert youths involved in anti-social behaviour and joy-riding through involvement in a range of pursuits designed to improve behaviour and social skills. The catchment area for the project is Darndale and Priorswood. Since the inception of this project, which has been successful, a number of participants have returned to full-time education while others have developed computer and literacy skills. The success of the programme is such that it is actively supported by the parents of those involved.
The capacity of the Dublin metropolitan north divisional force to respond to car crime and anti-social behaviour is under continuous review and is dealt with locally by Garda management. The Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act is actively enforced to address anti-social behaviour should it arise. In this regard, I have been informed by the Garda authorities that the number of car thefts and crimes involving cars unlawfully in the possession and use of persons of a criminal disposition has been reduced substantially in the past six months. Proactive policing in the area where this type of crime is frequent has been central to this success.
On the question of resources, I am informed by the Garda authorities that there is a sufficient number of gardaí available to patrol the Dublin metropolitan northern division.