The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr Brian Lenihan T.D., today published the Policing Priorities for An Garda Síochána for 2008.  The priorities, which the Garda Commissioner must take into account in preparing his policing plan for 2008, cover a range of issues in the following areas:

- gun crime, organised crime and drugs,
- terrorism,
- road traffic law enforcement,
- public order,
- Joint Policing Committees,
- deployment,
- resources,
- crime prevention and reduction,
- illegal immigration, and
- human trafficking.

Publishing the 2008 Policing Priorities at the Garda College in Templemore where he was attending a Garda Graduation ceremony, the Minister said: "These Policing Priorities set clear objectives for An Garda Síochána which the Garda Commissioner must take into account in making his Policing Plan for 2008. These priorities show the focus of this Government in addressing these important areas of policing and crime prevention and detection, and they are backed up by the substantial resources which the Government is continuing to provide to An Garda Síochána.

Today, 281 Gardaí – the largest graduation group ever - are joining their colleagues around the country who are working tirelessly to make Ireland a safer place. The Government is committed to increasing the size of the Force to 15,000 by 2010 and 16,000 by 2012 and to providing the technology and equipment which is needed to provide a world class, professional policing service. Key to this is bringing in civilian staff at all levels in the organisation to provide specialist expertise and administrative support which will free up Gardaí for front line operational policing duties."

The Policing Priorities for 2008 are attached.

1 November 2007


Note for editors

The Policing Priorities are determined under section 20 of the Garda Act 2005. In preparing the annual Policing Plan under section 22 of the Act, the Garda Commissioner must have regard to these priorities.

Priorities for the Garda Síochána for 2008 as determined by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform under section 20 of the Garda Síochána Acts 2005 to 2007


Gun crime, organised crime and drugs

1. To target gun crime, organised crime and drug trafficking, particularly through

- the use, in particular, of specialist units and targeted operations such as Operation Anvil;
- profiling, intelligence gathering and threat assessments in relation to individuals/groups involved in these categories of crime;
-  delivery on Garda actions and performances set out in the National Drugs Strategy;
-  the pursuit by the Criminal Assets Bureau of the proceeds of crime, including, through the presence of enhanced liaison arrangements between Garda Divisions and CAB, the assets of those engaged at any level in drug dealing;
-  enhanced activities by the Drugs Units and the Force focusing, in particular, on places throughout the country where the presence of drug dealing and the use of illicit drugs is likely.

Terrorism

2. To continue to combat terrorist activities specifically the threat posed by dissident paramilitary groups and those who would use Ireland as a base for international terrorism.

Road Traffic Law Enforcement

3. To meet the targets to be established in the new Road Safety Strategy - all efforts of An Garda Síochána in this regard to be prioritised on the basis of risk assessments in terms of road safety.

4.   To contribute, in conjunction with other authorities responsible, to the easing of road traffic congestion.

Public Order

5.   To combat, particularly in cooperation with other agencies and the community generally, the problems of public disorder with particular emphasis on alcohol related behaviour (including under age drinking) and socially disadvantaged communities especially through utilisation of the legal mechanisms being made available viz. ASBOs and behaviour warnings, closure orders, fixed penalty notices.

Joint Policing Committees

6.   To participate fully in the roll-out of Joint Policing Committees in all local authority areas, allowing greater responsiveness to local policing needs and the forging of local partnerships in addressing issues.

Deployment

7.   To increase the proportion of Gardaí on operational duty, including through increased civilian support.

8.   To increase the level of high visibility patrols, including through greater use of marked vehicles, linked to the development during 2008 of a Garda Charter which will set out targeted response times and levels of service, including frequency of high visibility patrols.

9.   Increased deployment should have particular regard to the policing needs of RAPID areas.

Resources

10.   To develop and commence implementation of change and modernisation strategies in the area of human resources, information and communications technology, accommodation and transport which will address the needs of the Force for the next five years and beyond.

11.   To continue to promote recruitment for full-time and Reserve members of An Garda Síochána in line with the Programme for Government, and particularly from ethnic minority communities to allow An Garda Síochána to reflect better the diversity of Irish society.

Crime Prevention and Reduction

12.  To expand the juvenile liaison scheme to meet emerging needs in this area.

13.  To continue the expansion of the Garda Youth Diversion Projects.

14.  To monitor registered sex offenders and cooperate in particular with the PSNI and UK police forces so as to minimise the risk of re-offending thereby contributing to community safety.

15.  To build on initiatives to combat homophobic and race crimes.

16.  To cooperate with COSC in curbing the problem of domestic violence.

17.  To take effective steps to protect vulnerable people living in isolated areas.

18.  To target the use of knives for violent attacks.

19.  To focus on high-value white-collar crime, particularly that of trading in contraband goods.

Illegal Immigration

20.  To deploy the necessary resources to tackle effectively illegal immigration.

Human Trafficking

21.  To deploy the necessary resources, including international cooperation with other agencies, to deal with the issue of human trafficking.