Section 36 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 (PDF, 312KB) provides for the establishment of a joint policing committee in each local authority administrative area. The function of the committees is set out in section 36(2) of the same Act.
The purpose of these committees is to provide a forum where members of a local authority and senior Garda officers responsible for the policing of that area, with the participation of Oireachtas members and community interests, can consult, discuss and make recommendations on matters affecting the policing of the area.
The guidelines for the establishment of Joint Policing Committees (MS Word, 111 KB) state that when a committee or sub-committee is first set-up, effort should be made to advertise publicly its establishment, purpose and functions, the date, time and place of the meetings and an invitation to the local population to attend. Barring legal reasons or a clash with the public interest, members of the public and representatives of the media are entitled to attend meetings of the JPCs. Indeed, it is stipulated that the date, time and place of meetings be organised to facilitate maximum community involvement.
There are currently 29 Committees in operation in a pilot phase to gain experience of their operation before rolling the Committees out to all local authority areas in the State. The pilot Joint Policing Committees currently function in:
In November 2007, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. Brian Lenihan T.D. opened a consultation seminar to review the experiences of the twenty-nine pilot Joint Policing Committees. The purpose of this was to discuss any changes that needed to be made to the structure and operation of the committees before JPCs are established in all 114 local authority areas during 2008.
In the Policing Plan 2008 (PDF, 3 MB), An Garda Síochána pledge to engage fully in Joint Policing Committees (JPCs) and local policing fora by ensuring that “Chief Superintendents or Superintendents are appointed to all Joint Policing Committees as appropriate” and that “Recommendations from JPCs inform all divisional and district plans as appropriate”.
More information on the operation of Joint Policing Committees is available from:
Recently, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. Brian Lenihan, T.D. addressed a North/South Community Policing Programme at Boston College, Boston. This programme, designed and delivered by the Irish Policing Institute at the Boston College Centre for Irish Programs, has brought together policing professionals from An Garda Síochána, the Police Service of Northern Ireland and various civilian bodies from both sides of the border to study and explore community policing strategies.
Information on district policing partnerships in Northern Ireland is available at http://www.districtpolicing.com/ and http://www.nipolicingboard.org.uk/. Community policing arrangements in the UK and Wales are outlined at http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk/community-policing/