There must be a high visibility presence of Gardaí in our communities to reduce incidents of anti-social behaviour as people take part in Halloween festivities, according to a Fine Gael TD.
Dublin Fingal Deputy Alan Farrell also said the creation of a new National Office for Community Safety to lead on the further roll out of Community Safety Partnerships will help combat crime and build stronger, safer communities.
Deputy Farrell, Fine Gael’s Justice spokesperson, said: “Anti-social behaviour has a devastating impact on communities, and I know it is an issue of huge concern to citizens. Indeed safety is at the forefront of everyone’s mind on weekends like this with people of all ages out enjoying Halloween events and festivities.
“With that in mind, it is essential that there is a high presence of Garda in communities, public spaces and near to public transport hubs to prevent public order incidents and anti-social behaviour.
“Operation Tombola, which targets the supply of illegal fireworks, has already seen large scale seizures of fireworks which is positive and will help reduce the risk of injury to people and fatalities over Halloween.
“But we also need high visibility policing which makes people feel safer and acts as a deterrent to those who engage in criminal activity and anti-social behaviour.
“The 25% increase in Garda overtime announced in the Budget will help the force ensure more Gardaí are on the beat. Plans to increase the upper age limit for garda entry is a sensible to change to the recruitment and retention process that will hopefully yield positive results in encouraging more people to consider joining the force.
“Numbers in Templemore continue to increase, with attestations every 3 months – 135 trainees entered the training college in February and another 154 in May. Another class of 174, the largest class since Covid, entered the college at the end of July, continuing the building momentum in recruitment.
“227 Gardaí have attested so far this year. 177 new trainees entered Templemore last week, the largest intake since COVID, meaning that 493 trainees are currently in the system, with one more class due into Templemore in December. We are on track to have between 700 and 800 new recruits into the college in 2023.
“This budget saw significant investment in our Gardaí, and the Garda budget in 2024 is €430 million larger than when my colleague, Justice Minister Helen McEntee took office in 2020.
“Protecting our citizens is much wider than policing and both Government and the Minister want communities to have a say in matters relating to their own safety.
“In 2024, total funding of €7.9m will create a new National Office for Community Safetyand roll out Community Safety Partnerships to plan the community’s own safety priorities in every area of the country.
“The Community Safety Innovation Fund, which reinvests the proceeds of crime as seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau, has been increased to €3.75m. Grants are awarded under this fund to organisations or community groups that have innovative proposals to improve community safety and have not been able to access other sources of funding.
“Gardaí also have new powers in relation to dealing with anti-social behaviour with targeted intelligence led operations, improved CCTV and body worn cameras; and the deployment of the Garda Air Support Unit, the Garda Mounted Unit, the Garda Dog Unit, Regional Armed Response Units, and Road Policing Units to enhance visibility in the city centre.
“Keeping our communities secure now and the future is a top priority for Minister Mc Entee and Fine Gael, and all of these actions reflect that commitment,” Deputy Farrell said.