161. Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Justice if reform of the Joint Policing Committee system is under consideration by her Department at present; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27649/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The Deputy will be aware that my Department recently published the general scheme of the landmark Policing, Security and Community Safety Bill. The Bill will provide for a key principle from the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland that preventing crime and harm and making our communities safer does not rest with An Garda Síochána and my Department alone. It will be best achieved as a ‘whole of government’ responsibility with Departments and agencies responsible for health and social services, education authorities and local authorities, the Gardaí and the wider community working together.
The new Bill will achieve this by establishing innovative Local Community Safety Partnerships to develop local safety plans tailored to the priorities and needs identified by communities themselves. The Local Community Safety Partnerships will replace and build upon the existing joint policing committees and will provide a forum for State agencies and local community representatives to work together to act on community concerns.
Each Partnership will devise and oversee a Local Community Safety Plan, which will be informed by the community itself. Membership of the Partnerships will include: residents; community reps (including youth, new communities and voluntary sector); business and education reps; relevant public services including HSE, Tusla, Gardaí and the local authority; and local councillors.
The Deputy will be aware that in November 2020, Minister McEntee announced the establishment of three new Local Community Safety Partnerships on a pilot basis in the north inner city of Dublin, Waterford and Longford. The locations of the pilots, which will run for 24 months, were chosen based on a number of factors including population density, crime rates and deprivation. An independent Chairperson will chair each Partnership pilot.
As the pilots progress, they will be carefully evaluated and any necessary changes made to ensure the Partnerships work as effectively as possible for the communities involved. The pilots will inform the further development of the Policing, Security and Community Safety Bill, which will facilitate the rollout of Local Community Safety Partnerships in every local authority area.