Written Answers. - Closed Circuit Television Systems.

Seán Ryan

Ceist:

152 Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will report on the provision of closed circuit television on Main Street, Swords, County Dublin; and when this facility will be provided. [9576/02]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that an application for a Garda CCTV system in Swords has been received by the advis ory committee that was established by the Garda Commissioner to evaluate applications for Garda CCTV systems. The application from Swords is currently under consideration – together with applications from other cities and towns throughout the country.

Applications for Garda CCTV systems are assessed by the advisory committee on the basis of Garda operational needs and include the following criteria: crime-public order statistics in the area; population and level of activity there; the recommendation of local Garda management and any special circumstances/needs that exist and the likely impact of a Garda CCTV system on that area. Co-funding is a feature of Garda CCTV systems and this is usually addressed when it has been decided to install a Garda CCTV system in an area.

The Deputy may be aware that I announced late in 2000 that the number of Garda CCTV systems is to be extended. As part of the first tranche of this expansion, CCTV systems are to be installed in the following areas: Athlone, Bray, Clondalkin, Dundalk, Dún Laoghaire, Finglas, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Tallaght. It is anticipated that these ten CCTV systems will be installed by the end of 2002. At least a further six areas will commence in 2003 and they will be announced in due course.

Tenders have been sought and received in respect of the town centre CCTV systems for Bray, Dundalk, Dún Laoghaire, Finglas, Galway and Limerick. The evaluation process is in its final stages and I hope to announce the awarding of the contracts shortly, after which work will commence immediately to put the systems in place. The planning in respect of the town centre CCTV systems for Athlone, Clondalkin, Waterford and Tallaght is well advanced and it is expected that tenders will be invited via the EU Journal and the national newspapers within the next few months.

I also plan to introduce a grant scheme to cater for those communities who would like to press ahead on their own with a local CCTV system. While it will be up to the local communities to install and monitor the CCTV schemes, grant assistance will be provided. The details of this new scheme are being finalised and full particulars including relevant conditions and grant levels etc. will be announced within the next four to six weeks.

Tony Gregory

Ceist:

153 Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will provide a full report from the garda authorities detailing their response to the issues raised at a meeting (details supplied) in Store Street Garda station, Dublin 1 and the subsequent alleged absence of adequate policing in the Sheriff Street area of Dublin 1; and if the request for closed circuit television cameras will be acted on. [9624/02]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the Sheriff Street area is policed by Store Street Garda station. The current manpower strength, as at 20 March 2002, is 219 gardaí, all ranks. The Sheriff Street area is patrolled by the community policing unit. It is also included in the recently launched Operation Encounter, with a mobile patrol and additional personnel allocated to the area. Resources are augmented from within the division as required.

I understand that the area is also patrolled by the district mobile patrols, district detective unit, crime prevention unit, divisional task force, divisional traffic unit and the divisional drug unit. All of these resources are given the task of providing high visibility policing in the area to deal with incidents of public disorder and anti-social behaviour. Frequent offenders have been and continue to be identified and targeted.

I am assured by the Garda authorities that local Garda management is satisfied that the arrangements currently in place in the Sheriff Street area are adequate to meet the present policing needs of the area, and that the gardaí will continue to appraise the policing and administrative strategy employed in the Sheriff Street area, with a view to ensuring that an effective Garda service is maintained. The situation will be kept under review and when additional manpower next becomes available, the needs of the Store Street district will be fully considered within the overall context of the needs of the Garda districts throughout the country.

With regard to the request for the installation of CCTV cameras, I have been informed that at present there are currently four cameras covering the area in question. They are strategically located to give the optimum coverage. The cameras are monitored on a 24 hour basis from the Garda Office, O'Connell Street.

The CCTV advisory committee has requested the DMR north central division to prepare a comprehensive report outlining the projected CCTV requirements in that division. On receipt of this report, the CCTV advisory committee will submit its recommendations to the Garda Commissioner.

I have also been informed that the Sheriff Street area is part of the RAPID programme, and that the gardaí are actively engaged in this programme with other agencies. In addition, plans and funding from the local drugs task force are at an advanced stage to extend the community policing forum in the Sheriff Street area.