For Oral Answer on : 24/05/2022
Question Number(s): 21 Question Reference(s): 26137/22
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Justice if she will outline the objectives of her Department’s community safety policy; the timeframes for same; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Community safety is about people being safe and, importantly, feeling safe within their communities. Ireland is generally regarded as a safe country in international terms, with relatively low crime rates and a general feeling of safety and security. However, we recognise that this is not the case in every community and that people living in disadvantaged areas can experience a different reality.
The Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland recognised that preventing crime and harm and making our communities safer does not rest with An Garda Síochána and my Department alone, but requires a whole of Government approach. Therefore, community safety goes beyond traditional high-visibility policing and must involve collaboration between service providers to find solutions to safety issues.
A community safety approach prioritises issues identified by the community itself as safety concerns and increases community confidence in service providers.
My Department’s Community Safety Policy, which is published on the Gov.ie website, will ensure communities are safer and feel safer by making community safety a whole of Government responsibility and priority, to be delivered through Local Community Safety Partnerships (LCSPs), supported through a national governance structure.
The LCSPs will bring all services and the community together at local authority level, building upon and replacing existing Joint Policing Committees, to serve as a forum for discussion and decisions on community priorities. This means State Services working with each other and the community to ensure there is better coordination between services such as educational and youth work with young people, the availability of local health and mental health services, drug prevention, housing and the built environment, and actions taken to combat alcohol and substance abuse, domestic abuse, youth crime, anti-social behaviour, and hate crime.
The partnership approach is built on two premises:
- Every community is different and has different problems and issues; and
- Responding to those problems and issues requires a range of inputs from across Government, local services, voluntary sector and the community itself.
Three pilot LCSPs have been fully established in Dublin North Inner City, Longford and Waterford. The pilots will run for two years, concluding in Q3 2023, and will be subject to a strict evaluation so that lessons learned and best practice from the pilot phase can inform the further roll out of the LCSP model to local authority areas after the enactment of the Policing, Security and Community Safety Bill.
Each pilot LCSP is currently engaged in developing the first iteration of their Local Community Safety Plans and I look forward to seeing their progress in the months ahead.