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Question

131. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Justice the actions that will be taken to address a concerning increase of antisocial behaviour in County Mayo; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51418/21]

Answer

Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy James Browne): I can assure the Deputy that the Government is determined to tackle anti-social behaviour. I am very conscious of the negative effect it can have on the quality of life for local communities, including in Mayo. Our communities deserve to feel safe and be safe.
The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner is responsible under the law for the management and administration of An Garda Síochána which includes the planning and deployment of Garda resources in response to crime trends. I, as Minister, have no direct role in such decisions. 
I am informed by the Garda authorities that active engagement between An Garda Síochána and Mayo County Council is taking place regarding antisocial behaviour in the area. There have been two meetings held with local councillors and An Garda Síochána, which were chaired by a councillor from the Foxford Area. The meetings are run under the Mayo Joint Policing Committee (JPC) as a subgroup where issues, including anti social behaviour, are discussed. The next meeting is scheduled for December 2021
The Deputy will be aware that in line with a Programme for Government commitment, I established an Expert Forum on Anti-Social Behaviour. This forum will consider the effectiveness of existing legislation and propose new ways forward, including new powers for An Garda Síochána and additional interventions to support parenting of offenders.
Two subgroups of the forum have been set up to examine particular issues, including one on knife crime which met on 26 September, and another on the misuse of scramblers and quadbikes. Similar sub groups can also be established for other issues as they arise.
A new Youth Justice Strategy for 2021 – 2027 was also published on 15 April. In line with international best practice, a key principle of the new Youth Justice Strategy is providing as many opportunities as possible to enable young people to change direction in their lives and adopt more positive behaviours.
The Strategy includes the full range of issues connected to children and young people at risk of coming into contact with the criminal justice system, including early intervention and preventative work, family support and diversion from crime, through to court process and facilities, supervision of offenders, detention and reintegration and support post release.
The Strategy strengthens and expands the role of the Youth Diversion Projects (YDPs) and promotes appropriate linkages and alignment with other community-based initiatives. Bringing the full range of relevant interventions together in a coherent and holistic response to youth crime will support the objective of diverting young people from crime and anti-social behaviour.
The Deputy will also be aware of the Local Community Safety Partnership pilots which are underway in 3 locations around the country.  Local Community Safety Partnerships are designed to take a holistic approach to safety issues in partnership with the community. The Partnerships will allow local communities to identify issues of particular concern within their area and work with the relevant State services to develop a local Community Safety Plan to specifically tackle these issues. The Local Community Safety Partnerships will be rolled out nationwide to all local authority areas after the pilot phase of two years.
For the Deputy's information, the Garda Commissioner and his team continue to utilise  Operation Soteria to ensure a reduction of assaults in public, reduce fear of assault within communities, prioritise assault investigations, and focus on problem areas and assault hotspots. The Operation includes targeting knife crimes in areas where it is shown to be appropriate and necessary.
The operation is based upon five principles for implementation: commitment to protecting people and communities; awareness and education as a crime prevention technique; policing operational efficiency; location management by working in partnership; and offender management.