Deputy Commissioner Peter Fitzgerald,
An Garda Síochána,
Dear Deputy Commissioner,
Re: An Garda Síochána Corporate Strategy 2007-2009
Thank you for your letter of 22 May, 2006 inviting submissions in relation to the Garda Síochána Corporate Strategy 2007-2009. The Council welcomes the opportunity to have an input into the strategic direction of the Force in the period in question.
The Council is also pleased to note that there has been significant progress on implementation of the recommendations relevant to An Garda Síochána in the National Crime Council’s earlier reports (Crime in Ireland (2001), Crime Prevention Strategy (2003), Public Order Offences in Ireland (2003)) and also in relation to its Report on Domestic Abuse of Women and Men in Ireland which was published in July, 2005.
The Council notes that the Garda Síochána Act, 2005 provides that crime prevention, which is a key focus of the Council, is one of the statutory objectives of the Force. Consistent with that objective, the Council recommends that priority be given in the period 2007-2009 to introducing crime analysts and crime mapping techniques, crime audits and other analytical tools with a view to developing a distinct crime prevention strategy and to informing deployment of Garda members. Locally based crime prevention strategies should also be developed to tackle specific crime problems such as drug related crime. The Council also recommends that there be increasing emphasis on analysing crime hot spots and identifying and devising tailor-made solutions within the overall policing strategy. As you will be aware, situational crime prevention techniques, repeat victimisation analysis and problem-oriented policing are three examples of defining crime problems in a practical way which have been demonstrated to be effective in other jurisdictions.
The Council strongly supports the proposed arrangements for participation in the work of crime prevention by members of the public via the joint policing committees to be set up initially on a pilot basis. The Council suggests that one of the areas that the committees could focus on in the period under review is on aspects of environmental design and urban planning which may serve to reduce opportunities for crimes to occur in local areas. Community involvement gives a new dimension to crime control activities. Crime prevention takes on renewed importance as the police and the community become partners in addressing problems of disorder and neglect that can breed serious crime. As links between the police and the community are strengthened over time, the partnership is better able to pinpoint and mitigate the underlying causes of crime.
The Council notes that the Garda Corporate Strategy 2005-2007 prioritises developing trust and confidence building strategies amongst the most vulnerable members of society, including the elderly. The Council recommends that this work be built on in the future by providing regular reassurance about Garda availability and response as well as advising the elderly and other vulnerable groups about ways to reduce their vulnerability.
Finally, the Council welcomes the commitment of An Garda Síochána to conduct the Public Attitudes Survey with a sample of 10,000 respondents annually. This increased sample size will strengthen the ability of An Garda Síochána to improve and develop the services it provides to the community and to be responsive at the Divisional level. The Council believes the data collected will also serve to assist the work of the Joint Policing Committees.