Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Questions (746)

Gary Gannon


746. Deputy Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Justice the reason funding for the community policing forum in the northinner city ceased in May 2019. [27301/20]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I understand that a Community Policing Forum (CPF) operated in the north inner city between 1999 and 2019, and that the Forum was funded through the Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force, but that that funding ceased in May 2019.  The Deputy will be aware that the Department of Health has overall responsibility for the Local Drug and Alcohol Task Forces.

A core element of the CPF operating model was that the community should have a role in identifying relevant issues and that an inter-agency approach should be adopted in resolving such issues.

The recent Covid-19 crisis has shown how proactive and collaborative community engagement by community services and An Garda Síochána can improve the condition of peoples’ lives.  For example, since the onset of the Covid-19 restrictions, Gardaí attached to Store Street Garda Station have increased engagement with the more vulnerable members of society in the North East Inner City area of Dublin, through volunteer services, service providers and on an individual basis. 

Building on the experience of the CPF, and as part of the implementation of the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, my Department is devising a policy on a whole-of-Government approach to community safety which aims to help foster local communities that are safer for families, residents and businesses and that feel more secure.

As part of the policy, plans are being advanced to develop a North Inner City Community Safety Pilot which would encompass the North Inner City Electoral Area. The pilot will establish a Community Safety Partnership, which will serve to prioritise issues identified by the community as safety concerns and develop proper strategic partnership approaches to a range of local issues, integrating service providers in order to holistically address community concerns.

Agencies and service providers across a range of areas will work with community representatives and Gardaí on community solutions to complex safety problems. Community representation will be reinforced and a partnership approach will be fostered and supported. It will also aim to increase community confidence in service providers and identify elements to improve the delivery of a national programme on community safety.

In addition, A Policing Service for our Future - the Government’s plan to implement the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland - envisages a review of the Joint Policing Committee structure in the context of reimagining the approach to engagement with local communities on policing issues. The objective is for community representatives to be centrally involved in a partnership approach to community safety. In the meantime, the Joint Policing Committees provided for under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 continue to operate, including in Dublin.