Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Questions (562)

Alan Farrell


562. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will outline Garda initiatives aimed at curbing criminals who move into an area and target vulnerable persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8426/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

While I am not clear from the Deputy's question what specific circumstances he has in mind, the Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner has established Operation Fiacla to confront the activities of those engaged in burglaries, and in particular mobile gangs who have been targeting particular localities including the homes of elderly and more vulnerable persons. Operation Fiacla is intelligence driven, and specific burglary initiatives have been implemented in each Garda Region to target suspect offenders. These initiatives optimise the use of existing structures and local Garda management ensure that all personnel are fully briefed on the initiative, with Divisional Crime Management Teams playing a key coordination and implementation role.

I am informed that as of 31 January 2013, 3,903 persons have been arrested and 2,142 persons have been charged with burglary offences under Operation Fiacla, showing that the Garda Commissioner is effectively deploying the substantial resources available to him in a targeted approach to confront those engaged in this form of criminality.

In addition to this specific operation, the Garda National Model of Community Policing plays a key part in responding to crime and is directed and supported each year by the Garda Síochána Annual Policing Plan. Each Garda District and Divisional Officer also configures its policing response to local conditions to ensure that an appropriate policing service is delivered to the area in question, whether it be a rural or urban one. Gardaí continue to work closely with communities to enhance community safety in a wide range of local fora, including the Joint Policing Committees, and through programmes such as Community Alert which operates in cooperation with the programme partners, Muintir na Tíre, and has led to the establishment of 1,345 Community Alert groups countrywide.

It is the Government's intention to ensure that frontline policing services are maintained at the highest level possible through the most efficient use of resources. The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner is leading a programme of reform in support of this overall objective and he has my full support in this regard.