Written Answers - Public Order Offences.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 687 No. 3

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  348.  Deputy Charlie O’Connor  Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor   asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform  Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern   if he will confirm that he is reviewing the operation of anti-social behaviour orders; if he appreciates the continued need to deal effectively with anti-social behaviour; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27374/09]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Part 11 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006, which provides for civil proceedings in relation to anti-social behaviour by adults, was commenced on 1 January, 2007. Part 13 of the Act, relating to anti-social behaviour by children, was commenced on 1 March, 2007. These provisions set out an incremental procedure for addressing anti-social behaviour by adults and children. I believe that these provisions have made a significant contribution to addressing anti-social behaviour. Nevertheless, I believe that it is appropriate at this stage to review the operation of the legislation to see whether any improvements can be made, and in this regard my Department is in consultation with the Garda authorities.

The Garda Policing Plan for 2009, which reflects the priorities set for the Force by me as Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, contains a series of measures aimed at reducing the impact of crime and criminal behaviour. One of the strategic goals identified in the Plan is to reduce significantly the incidence of public disorder and anti-social behaviour in communities.

Joint Policing Committees provide a forum where An Garda Síochána and the local authority — the two organisations which make the most significant contribution to preventing and tackling crime in a specific area — can come together, with the participation of members of the Oireachtas and community and voluntary interests, on matters affecting the area. A Committee has a range of functions and monitor two broad areas. The first is the levels and patterns of [588]crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour in its area, including patterns and levels of misuse of alcohol and drugs. The second is the broader issue of the factors underlying and contributing to crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour. Following on from this the Committee advises the local authority and An Garda Síochána on how they might best perform their functions, having regard to the need to do everything feasible to improve the safety and quality of life and to prevent crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour within the area.

I am of the view that the Committees have enormous potential for tackling the problems of anti-social behaviour.

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