In response to an increase in crimes such as burglaries and car theft, I have written to Superintendent Ronan Galligan, An Garda Siochana to ask for increased Garda patrols and presence in affected areas. I also placed a Question to Fingal County Council (copied below) seeking support to reconstitute the Swords Community Policing Forum. As a Community representative on the now defunct Swords CPF, I recognised the benefits of a well-coordinated communication and action forum for residents in order to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour. As you will see the response is not very supportive. However, I am continuing to work to see if I can support any crime prevention measures through my role as a County Councillor through:
Liaising with Safer Blanchardstown to see what can be learned from them and applied in Swords
Working with my colleague and friend Cllr Joe Newman to explore the feasibility of a text alert scheme for certain estates. Cllr Newman is doing great work in setting a text alert scheme up in Rivervalley
Continuing to explore options for a replacement to the Community Policing Forum
In the meantime, I am encouraging all residents to remain vigilant, take the usual precautions, look out for neighbours, particularly the older and vulnerable and to report any suspicious activity. (Swords Garda Station number 6664700)
I would appreciate any comments or feedback on this matter.
Swords Community Policing Forum
Question: Councillor D. Smith
“To ask the Chief Executive if efforts could be made by the Council in 2015 to restart the Swords Community Policing Forum in light of ongoing crime and in the interests of sharing information on crime prevention and community engagement?”
Local Policing Fora for Swords and Balbriggan which were in place up to 2013 were funded solely North Dublin City & County Regional Drugs Task Force, through the Fingal LEADER Partnership. Regional Drugs Task Forces are funded by the Department of Health. In 2013, a comprehensive review was carried out by the North Dublin City& County Regional Drugs Task Force which identified scope for improved front-line services targeted at the needs of the service user.
This resulted in structural changes whereby the funding was re-directed to the provision of these front-line services. In May 2014, the North Dublin Community Care Service was established, funded through the Regional Drugs Task Force (from the Department of Health) and with a remit to respond to drug/alcohol based problems. They operate an U18 and an adult service with over 100 referrals since May 2014 and an 80%+ retention rate. Referrals are from Swords, Balbriggan, Rush, Lusk, Donabate and Skerries and the services are targeted and structured around Assessment, Key Working, Care Planning and Case Management. They also have a formal referral arrangement with Mental Health services in Swords and Balbriggan. The system as it operates at present allows for direct communication and engagement between the North Dublin Community Care Services and relevant LocalAuthority Departments and local Gardai. The North Dublin Community Care Services would not be in favour of a duplication/overlap in service provision as this would divert essential resources. Without a source of funding available, it is not feasible to re-establish the Local Policing Fora at Swords and Balbriggan.
The Fingal Joint Policing Committee, established under Section 36 (2) of the Garda Siochana Act serves as a forum for consultations, discussions and recommendations on matters affecting the policing of the local authority’s administrative area, and in particular, keeps under review: a. The levels and patterns of crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour in that area (including the patterns and levels of misuse of alcohol and drugs), and b. The factors underlying and contributing to the levels of crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour in the area. The Joint Policing Committee meets quarterly and is constituted as follows: 15 Local Authority Elected Members; 5 Oireachtas Elected Members; 2 Local Authority Officials; 2 Senior Gardai and 7 Community representatives. In addition, the JPC holds 4 public meetings per annum, offering members of the public an opportunity to meet Gardai and Local Authority officials and raise items of concern directly. The 2015 public meetings are provisionally scheduled to take place in March and April 2015, and will be advertised and promoted when times, dates and venues are confirmed. The Joint Policing Committee is a structured mechanism for engagement on the matters of crime, anti-social behaviour and the underlying factors, and it is not desirable to increase demands on the resources of both An Garda Siochana and the local authority by effectively duplicating a structure already in place.