Provisional Recommendations : Tackling the Underlying Causes of Crime: A Partnership Approach
SECTION TWO GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES THAT IMPACT ON CRIME
- Government Policy in the area of crime prevention must involve a range of policy
initiatives in the short, medium and long-term to address the complexity of the factors
that give rise to crime and anti-social behaviour (p. 8).
- A comprehensive crime prevention strategy must dovetail with the work of all
Government Departments and agencies and must be independently evaluated and
reviewed (p. 8).
- It is the view of the National Crime Council that steps must be taken by all Government
Departments and agencies to develop up-to-date, accessible and usable statistics that
can aid national policy formulation and research (p. 9).
- The important role of early intervention and diversion from the criminal justice system,
as provided in the Children Act, 2001, should be adopted in all public policy and
legislation (p. 11/12).
- The National Crime Council recommends that the Government provide the necessary
funding for the development of the required structures, to complete the implementation
of the Children Act, 2001 (p. 12).
- There is a need for ongoing independent evaluation of existing initiatives before a new
initiative is brought forward and a continuation plan from the pilot phase to the
mainstreamed project must be developed, to ensure a seamless transition from one
phase to the next (p. 13).
SECTION THREE CRIME PREVENTION IN IRELAND
- It was clear from our consultations that a number of Government Departments, as well
as the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform can do more to contribute to
crime prevention measures, especially in terms of greater co-ordination of their work
both within their own agencies and with others (p. 18).
- A clear, mutually accepted definition of crime prevention should be drawn up across all
Government Departments and agencies that have a clear and significant role to play in
this area (p. 18).
- Government Departments and agencies should be obliged to ''crime proof' all new
policies, ensuring they are assessed for their potential positive or negative impact
on crime (p. 18).
- The National Crime Council recommends that extra funding is allocated to the
Probation and Welfare Service to allow it to expand its remit to young people who are
'at risk' of offending, thus enhancing the opportunity for early intervention (p. 24).
- The National Crime Council recommends the development of a statutory Probation and
Welfare Service (p. 25).
SECTION FOUR UNDERLYING CAUSES OF CRIME
- The National Crime Council regards anti-social and criminal behaviour as important
issues that should be investigated in the forthcoming National Longitudinal Study of
Children (p. 30).
SECTION FIVE LOCAL CRIME PREVENTION - THE PARTNERSHIP APPROACH
- Successful responses to crime are beyond the competency of any single agency.
A partnership model allows for the development of a more holistic approach to crime
and crime prevention, in which expertise, knowledge and resources can be shared
- 14. An agreed crime prevention strategy must be developed between Government
Departments, Government agencies, Voluntary organisations, Community
organisations and community representatives. This will ensure the development
of a common approach based on agreed principles (p. 35).
- Crime prevention strategies should emphasise the importance of early intervention (p. 35).
- To ensure success, partnerships in the area of crime prevention, must have strong political
backing and substantial resource investment. There must be a high level of support and
commitment from management within the various agencies involved (p. 36).
- Effective crime prevention strategies will require the development of short, medium
and long-term goals and will require the full commitment of all agencies to realise these
goals. Crime prevention partnerships should work towards providing long-term
solutions to crime problems, and agencies must be able to make commitments in the
long-term (p. 36).
- With the proliferation of local partnership structures, agencies will have to change
to meet the demands of interagency working (p. 36).
- Public services will always demand more resources, but agencies must not focus solely
on this issue. Lack of funding is an easy response to demands for a better service.
Agencies need to rationalise their services, to complement one another and become
more effective (p. 37).
- Partnership working in the area of crime prevention requires legislative underpinning
- Locally based strategies should be based on up-to-date data, to ensure that an
accurate assessment of local needs can be made. Independent evaluation (both
process and outcome) should play an integral role in all crime prevention partnerships
- The National Crime Council proposes the development of crime prevention partnerships
in Ireland. The remit of these partnerships should be to focus on tackling local crime
problems and the underlying causes of crime, while working closely to support current
initiatives, as well as developing new initiatives (p. 37-39).
SECTION SIX COMMUNITY/NEIGHBOURHOOD INFLUENCE OF CRIME
- The National Crime Council highlights the value of undertaking locally based crime
victimisation surveys, which would shed more light on the distribution of victimisation
rates at a local level (p. 42).
- There is a need for Government Departments and agencies to make available data
at a local level, based on the same area boundaries, to allow for more accurate
planning of services and initiatives (p. 42/43).
- Policies that are developed centrally need to be flexible so as to allow them to be
tailored to the specific needs of each local area (p. 43/44).
- At a policy level certain language is needed to differentiate exactly where or who is being
targeted, however, at a community level during the implementation of policy the
language used should be sensitive to any negative implications that may arise (p. 44).
SECTION SEVEN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
- A determined effort must be made across all agencies of the criminal justice system
to operate in a more open, transparent and accountable manner (p. 48).
- The agencies that make up the criminal justice system in Ireland must provide
accurate, up-to-date statistics on their activities and conduct regular independent
reviews of their procedures, to ensure they are at all times functioning in a planned and
informed manner (p. 48).
- The Gardaí must build upon the ongoing community policing structures. Models being
developed here, such as the Community Policing Forums and in neighbouring
jurisdictions (e.g. Northern Ireland and England and Wales) could provide useful
guidelines (p. 50).
- A mechanism needs to be found by which members of the Judiciary can gain a deeper
understanding of the effect particular types of criminal activity, such as drug dealing,
can have on an area (p. 51).
- The National Crime Council recognises the importance of developing links between the
'closed prison environment' and the wider community and urges the Irish Prison
Service to further develop and expand their work in this area (p. 51).
- There is a real need to provide support structures for ex-prisoners to help aid their
re-integration (p. 52).
- The National Crime Council highlights the importance of the complete commencement
of Part 9 of the Children Act, 2001 and recommends that the necessary funding and
resources (particularly for the Probation and Welfare Service and the Department of
Education and Science) are provided to ensure the commencement of the remaining
Sections as quickly as possible (p. 53).
- The National Crime Council supports the expansion of non-custodial sanctions,
emphasising the need for a rehabilitative focus to all such sanctions (p. 53).
SECTION EIGHT YOUTH SERVICES AND YOUTH NEEDS
- It is essential that we learn about successful youth projects, to ensure that a body
of knowledge highlighting 'best practice' can be developed. Innovative projects and
innovative ways of engaging young people must be explored and funding for youth
services must make provision for process evaluation that will allow for a continual
review of the individual programmes (p. 56).
- Adequate funding for successful youth work projects must be committed in the long term
with multi-annual funding available for services that are shown to be effective. (p. 57).
- The needs of rural young people must be recognised and acknowledged by funding
bodies (p. 57/58).
- The National Crime Council supports the view that there is a need to develop
accessible drug and alcohol treatment facilities (p. 58/59).
- The State is obliged to provide for young people up until the age of 18 years. Once they
reach the age of majority there is little or no support available. The State must work
towards providing a continuum of provision despite age (p. 59).
SECTION NINE FAMILY SUPPORT IN IRELAND
- It is clear to the National Crime Council that lone parents require substantial social and
family supports as well as the financial contributions they receive (p. 62/63).
- Government Departments and agencies must identify and meet the needs of a diverse
range of families, including Travellers, Refugees and Asylum Seekers, to prevent the
further alienation of marginalised children and young people from mainstream society
- Parental training programmes are required to provide parents with the skills to manage
the challenging and disruptive behaviour of their children (p. 63).
- There is a need for innovative thinking and a radical change in the way organisations
operate in the area of family services (p. 64).
- The National Crime Council emphasises the importance of identifying problems as early
as possible, this requires greater levels of interaction between local health workers,
schools, parents, family members and children (p. 64).
SECTION TEN EDUCATION AND EARLY INTERVENTION
- In financial terms the level of investment in the education of a child from a more
disadvantaged background is likely to be substantially less than for a child from a more
affluent background. This inequity needs to be addressed, with greater resources
provided for early education, primary level and post primary level, with particular
emphasis on a co-ordinated, targeted response in areas of disadvantage (p. 68).
- The National Crime Council recommends that substantial baseline research be carried
out to develop further insights into the characteristics of offenders in Ireland. This
research should involve both retrospective studies with known offenders and
longitudinal prospective studies with children and young people (p. 69).
- There is an absolute need to extend the reduced pupil : teacher ratio to all classes
in a school that has been designated as 'disadvantaged' (p. 70).
- The Department of Education and Science should consider introducing incentives
that would encourage teachers to remain in schools that have been "designated
disadvantaged" (p. 70)
- The Department of Education and Science needs to introduce a more flexible learning
and teaching environment for those young people who are 'at risk' of leaving school
early (p. 71/72).
- The current education system alienates rather than engages young people with
challenging behaviours and disrupted lives. These young people often require support
and healing in their personal life before they can partake in the routine of the education
system (p. 72).
- The National Educational Psychological Service must rethink the allocation of
resources to designated disadvantaged schools, where there is often high levels of
acute need. Greater levels of resources are required in these areas (p. 73).
- The new Regional Education Office Structure must provide a mechanism that makes
educational services more accessible to the community at large. These offices should
have the ability to make commitments at a local level and deliver on these
commitments (p. 74).
- A priority of these Regional Offices should be to gather accurate statistics from schools
that can be made available at a local level and can feed into local research and project
planning (p. 74).
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