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Provisional Recommendations : Tackling the Underlying Causes of Crime: A Partnership Approach

SECTION TWO GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES THAT IMPACT ON CRIME

  1. 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).

  2. 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).

  3. 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).

  4. 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).

  5. 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).
  6. 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 7.


  7. 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).

  8. 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).

  9. 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).

  10. 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).

  11. The National Crime Council recommends the development of a statutory Probation and Welfare Service (p. 25).

    SECTION FOUR UNDERLYING CAUSES OF CRIME


  12. 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

  13. 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 (p. 34).

  14. 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).

  15. Crime prevention strategies should emphasise the importance of early intervention (p. 35).

  16. 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).

  17. 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).

  18. With the proliferation of local partnership structures, agencies will have to change to meet the demands of interagency working (p. 36).

  19. 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).


  20. Partnership working in the area of crime prevention requires legislative underpinning (p. 37).

  21. 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 (p. 37).

  22. 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

  23. 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).

  24. 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).

  25. 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).

  26. 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

  27. 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).

  28. 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).

  29. 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).

  30. 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).

  31. 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).

  32. There is a real need to provide support structures for ex-prisoners to help aid their re-integration (p. 52).

  33. 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).

  34. 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

  35. 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).

  36. 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).

  37. The needs of rural young people must be recognised and acknowledged by funding bodies (p. 57/58).

  38. The National Crime Council supports the view that there is a need to develop accessible drug and alcohol treatment facilities (p. 58/59).


  39. 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

  40. 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).

  41. 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 (p. 63).

  42. Parental training programmes are required to provide parents with the skills to manage the challenging and disruptive behaviour of their children (p. 63).

  43. There is a need for innovative thinking and a radical change in the way organisations operate in the area of family services (p. 64).

  44. 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

  45. 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).

  46. 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).

  47. 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).

  48. 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)

  49. 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).

  50. 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).

  51. 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).

  52. 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).
  53. 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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