I thank the Deputy for her question. I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that working to tackle public disorder and reduce anti-social behaviour is a key priority for An Garda Síochána. This approach includes a strong focus on quality of life issues and collaboration with local authorities to help address the causes of anti-social behaviour.
Garda visibility is a key element in tackling and indeed deterring anti-social behaviour and in this context An Garda Síochána is a growing organisation which is developing a partnership approach to problem solving with the community and other agencies. In addition, anti-social behaviour is addressed through deployment of resources, including the Public Order Unit to augment local plans where appropriate.
A number of strong legislative provisions are available to Gardaí to combat anti-social behaviour, including those under:
- the Criminal Damage Act 1991;
- the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994;
- the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 2003; and
- the Intoxicating Liquor Acts 2003 and 2008.
As the Deputy will be aware, the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing placed a particular emphasis on the importance of community policing, in which front-line Gardaí are visible and engaged in communities, developing partnerships with other public agencies and stakeholders, to deliver a multi-agency approach to community safety.
The new Garda Operating Model and revised Divisional Structure, announced recently by the Commissioner, meets a key commitment in "A Policing Service for the Future", the four year implementation plan giving effect to the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing. The new model is intended to provide more visible Gardaí on the front line, as well as devolving more power and decision-making power from Garda Headquarters to Chief Superintendents leading Divisions. This will ensure a more responsive police service reflecting local needs.
I am confident that these measures - the unprecedented resourcing of and increased recruitment to An Garda Síochána, as well as the ongoing process of Garda reform including a strengthened focus on community policing - will assist in ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country which will maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime.
The Government also remains committed to ensuring that An Garda Síochána have the necessary resources to tackle all forms of criminality in our communities.