I propose to take Questions Nos. 489 to 491, inclusive, 504 and 505 together.
The Deputy will be aware that the Central Statistics Office (CSO), as the national statistics agency, is responsible for the publication of recorded crime statistics.
While the statistical information being sought by the Deputy is not currently being published by the CSO, I can advise the Deputy that my Department received a report from An Garda Síochána in relation to knife seizures, which indicates year on year increases in the numbers of knives seized by An Garda Síochána, with approximately 1,200 seized in 2016, 1,600 seized in 2017 and almost 2,000 seized last year.
I am advised that An Garda Síochána is addressing the issue of knife crime through education and engagement with community initiatives. At an operational level, An Garda Síochána pro-actively targets public disorder and anti-social behaviour, including knife-related crime, through the strategic deployment of Garda resources, and areas identified as public order hot-spots by local Garda management are the subject of additional foot and mobile patrols.
I am further informed that An Garda Síochána established a Working Group to formulate a "National Strategy to Deal with Assaults against the Person". An Garda Síochána has included knife crime as part of the remit of the working group tasked with drafting the strategy.
The working group will continue to monitor the prevalence and frequency of individuals carrying a knife and knife-like instruments on their person, whilst devising a strategy to tackle assaults against the person, including assaults involving the use of a knife. The working group is expected to present a draft strategy to the Garda Executive for consideration by July 2019.
My Department also wrote to the Garda authorities in February 2019 to seek an update on the recent work of An Garda Síochána in tackling knife-related crime, and in particular the progress being made by Gardaí to improve the quality of knife crime statistics recorded on the PULSE system.
When a response is received, and has been fully considered by my Department, I hope to able to provide the Deputy with an update.