Tuesday, 10 November 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
89. Deputy Tom Sheahan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the additional supports he will put in place for the gardaí to deal with anti-social behaviour in public and private housing estates due to the failure of the anti-social behaviour order legislation. [40359/09]
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): I attach a high importance to the achievement of the maximum levels of safety for local communities, in particular through the tackling of problems resulting from the misuse of alcohol. This is reiterated in the Renewed Programme for Government, which contains a specific commitment that we will continue to target Garda actions within communities experiencing significant anti-social behaviour.
A measure of the level of Garda activity in the area of public order, such as targeting public order hot-spots, is the fact that over 650,000 offences were detected since February 2002 as a result of Operation Encounter. I welcome the fact that as a result of this activity the number of disorderly conduct offences decreased by 7% in the twelve month period up to the end of September.
The Criminal Justice Act 2006 provides for civil proceedings in relation to anti-social behaviour by adults and children and sets out an incremental procedure for addressing such behaviour. The intention was that these interventions would address the problem behaviour. It is only if they fail to lead to a behaviour adjustment by the person in question that a court order will be applied for. I do not accept that these provisions are not effective. To date, 2,464 behaviour warnings have been issued.
Nevertheless, as these provisions have been operating since 2007, I believe that it is appropriate to review their operation to see whether any improvements can be made, and in this regard my Department is in consultation with the Garda authorities.
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