For Oral Answer on : 18/04/2023
Question Number(s): 65 Question Reference(s): 17487/23
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Justice to outline the way Community Crime Prevention Programmes are promoted and encouraged under the Rural Safety Plan 2022-2024 published by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Rural Safety Plan 2022-2024, published by my Department, is the result of strong collaboration between all the relevant organisations and brings together the excellent work already underway in relation to rural safety. The Plan is not intended to replace, but rather supplement, this work.
The vision of the Rural Safety Plan is for people and communities in rural Ireland to feel safe and be safe in their homes, their places of work, and their local environments.
An Garda Síochána has also published a Crime Prevention and Reduction Strategy 2021-2024, which aims to provide a consistent approach to preventing and reducing crime to deliver on their commitment to keeping communities, both urban and rural, safe. This Strategy recognises that An Garda Síochána cannot prevent and reduce crime alone and that crime prevention is achieved through effective and comprehensive engagement with communities and businesses.
To support this aim, the Garda National Crime Prevention Officer Network comprises of a Crime Prevention Officer (CPO) in every Garda Division across the State. These CPOs are trained to encourage, promote and advise on crime prevention in both private and business communities.
I am also advised that An Garda Síochána operates a range of Community Crime Prevention Programmes in partnership with communities in Ireland. Two such programmes are Neighbourhood Watch and Community Alert.
Community Crime Prevention Programmes have been in operation since 1985 and in excess of 3,700 Neighbourhood Watch and Community Alert groups have been established since then.
This demonstrates a significant willingness amongst the public to participate at a community level in preventing crime. Neighbourhood Watch and Community Alert have helped to promote responsible community involvement and have assisted in the promotion of good crime prevention practice.
Also, a new approach to community safety, through the formation of local community safety partnerships (LCSPs) is being piloted in three areas, including Longford and Waterford. The partnerships bring together local residents, local elected representatives, community groups, local education providers and other State service providers to formulate a community safety plan for their area. Longford LCSP produced their safety plan in 2022 and Waterford LCSP produced their plan last month. Both plans are available on the respective County Council websites.