Tuesday, 10 November 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
82. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of joint policing committees that have met to date in 2009; the number of same that have yet to meet; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40311/09]
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): Joint Policing Committees are provided for in the Garda Síochána Act 2005. Their purpose is to 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.
During 2006 and 2007, Committees were established in 29 local authority areas in a pilot phase, prior to extending them to all 114 county, city and town council areas. The guidelines under which these operated were amended in the light of the experience gained in their operation. On 24 September, 2008 I launched, with my colleague the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, the amended guidelines providing for the establishment of Committees in all 114 local authority areas by the relevant local authorities and the Garda Commissioner.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that, up to the end of October 2009, Committees had been established in 93 local authority areas, representing 82% of the total. Committees remain to be established in the remaining 21 local authority areas. The process of establishing a Committee can take some time since it is necessary to select Committee members from the elected local authority members, Oireachtas members who have expressed an interest in becoming members and the community and voluntary sector in accordance with the procedures set out in the guidelines and local arrangements. Furthermore, Committees already established had to be reconstituted following the local elections last June.
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