211. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice the proposed membership of the local community safety partnerships; if it is envisaged that the membership will include local drugs and alcohol taskforces; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30135/21]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): As the Deputy will be aware, Minister McEntee recently published the General Scheme of the Policing, Security and Community Safety Bill. This Bill will improve the performance and accountability of our policing and security services, and support the human rights of all people throughout Ireland to be and feel safe in their communities. It will represent the most wide ranging and coherent reform of policing in a generation.
The Bill has four main objectives:
1. Make the prevention of harm and protection of people who are vulnerable or at risk, and the safety of communities, a “whole of government” responsibility,
2. Strengthen and consolidate independent, external oversight of An Garda Síochána,
3. Enhance the internal governance of An Garda Síochána and the role of the Garda Commissioner as CEO, and
4. Improve the independent oversight of our national security infrastructure.
This Bill has been developed on the basis of the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland following its fundamental in-depth review and builds on the work of the policing oversight bodies.
The commission found that community safety requires a whole of Government approach in partnership with local communities. My Department has been developing a new Community Safety Policy and this new policy will be given a statutory basis in the Bill. The Bill proposes the establishment of Local Community Safety Partnerships at local authority level, bringing together a range of service providers and community members to develop a local community safety plan. To support and inform the policy, three Local Community Safety Partnerships are being piloted in Dublin’s north inner city, Waterford and Longford and will run for the next two years.
The pilots will inform the development of the rollout of Local Community Safety Partnerships in every local authority area as part of the provisions of the Policing, Security and Community Safety Bill.
As the Pilots are still being established, it is not possible to provide a definitive membership, and the membership of each local Partnership may vary; however it is intended that local drugs and alcohol task forces will be included in the membership where appropriate. It is anticipated that the drugs and alcohol task forces are likely to be relevant to many local communities and appropriate for membership. The Local Authorities, HSE, Gardaí, schools and youth organisations, Government Departments and State services, as well as community groups and interested citizens will form the membership of the Partnerships.