138. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Justice the measures that are being put in place to strengthen community input into policing matters; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [57661/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): The Deputy will be aware that my Department published the general scheme of the landmark Policing, Security and Community Safety Bill earlier this year.
The Bill will, inter alia, 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. I think the Deputy will agree that this is 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. It is intended that these Local Community Safety Partnerships will build on and replace 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 be broader than that of the existing JPCs and will include residents, community representatives (including youth, new communities and voluntary sector representation), business and education sector representation, relevant public services including the HSE, Tusla, An Garda Síochána and local authorities as well as local councillors.
The Deputy will be aware that in November 2020, I 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 are due to run for 24 months, were chosen based on a number of factors including population density, crime rates and deprivation. An independent Chairperson has been appointed to chair each Partnership pilot and I am grateful to them for their public service.
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.