142. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Justice if she will provide an update following her meeting with the members of a campaign (details supplied); her views on whether this initiative could be rolled out in other locations; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [57817/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): As the Deputy is aware, a key pillar of the Programme for Government,
Our Shared Future, is building stronger and safer communities. I can assure the Deputy that my Department is committed to ensuring that there is strong, visible community policing right across Ireland, both rural and urban.
Making our towns, villages and rural areas safer is best achieved when Gardaí work closely with communities. The “See Something, Say Something” campaign, which was initiated by Kerry Gardaí and developed in collaboration with Tralee Chamber Alliance, is a commendable example of how Gardaí and the community can work together to make a town a safer place.
The ‘See Something, Say Something’ initiative allows any member of the public to report anti-social or suspicious behaviour via text message by texting TRALEE or KILLARNEY followed by the information to 50555. The message is received at the Communications Desk at Tralee Garda Station, entered on CAD and the nearest available mobile patrol unit or Garda on foot/bike patrol is dispatched.
‘See Something, Say Something’ was launched in July 2018 and is the first initiative of its kind in Ireland allowing anybody with a mobile telephone to text An Garda Síochána if they hear or see something that does not seem quite right. It creates an extra channel of communication between the community and Gardaí, is simple to use, and available to everyone with a mobile phone. The service is also anonymous which further promotes its use, especially for those who would otherwise be reluctant to contact Gardaí. Information regarding illegal drug activity is also regularly received.
I am advised by the Garda Authorities that over the three years during which the initiative has been in operation, Gardaí have responded to over 2,200 text messages. This has enabled Gardaí dealing with cases of anti-social behaviour to respond to and deal with problems before they escalate into more serious issues. I am further advised that the initiative assisted in reducing public order incidents in Tralee by 22% in 2019. The initiative has also assisted Gardaí in Kerry to assign patrols to areas where they are needed most, which can change on a weekly and daily basis.
I am informed that ‘See Something, Say Something’ will shortly be rolled out across the remainder of the Kerry Division in towns such as Listowel and Dingle.