Written Answers. - Steps to Combat Crime.

49.

asked the Minister for Justice (1) if he will consider setting up a criminology section in his Department to help develop effective and coherent overall policies for combatting crime and the reform of criminals; (2) the provision which currently exists for policy making in his Department; and (3) if he has any proposals for a police authority which would allow for representation of the community.

Limerick East): There are various ways of taking account of and benefiting from developments in criminology and I would not necessarily agree that the setting up of a specific section in my Department on the lines suggested would represent the best use of resources even if the necessary additional resources were available. The position at present, however, is that an embargo designed to achieve a reduction in staffing is in force.

Policy making for the Department is the responsibility of the Minister, except in so far as the matters in question are of sufficient importance to warrant their being referred to the Government.

As regards the question of a police authority, the Government programme includes a commitment to set up such an authority and appropriate legislation will be prepared as soon as other matters of an even more pressing nature have been dealt with. When the legislation is introduced, the House will have an opportunity of debating the composition of the authority.