The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, today published a discussion document on the operation of Joint Policing Committees (JPCs).  The publication of this document forms part of Programme for Government commitment to strengthen existing community policing partnerships and forums to enhance partnership between communities and the Gardaí.

The Minister is seeking views from the Gardaí, local authorities, Oireachtas members, community organisations and the general public.

Following the publication, Minister Shatter today said "Joint Policing Committees are a very important forum for collaborative engagement between elected representatives, the Gardaí, officials and other community stakeholders.  I am concerned that these important local structures are used to best effect, so I am publishing a discussion document based on a range of opinions received in my Department. I am very pleased to open this matter for public comment and I will consider all opinions received in deciding on any amendments to the current guidelines which govern the operation of JPCs."

Joint Policing Committees are established under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and are designed to allow for collective consideration of local policing issues between the Gardaí, local authority and Oireachtas elected members, officials and community representatives.

The current JPC guidelines date from 2008. The consultation document published today draws on the views of current members of JPCs who responded to a questionnaire from the Department of Justice and Equality earlier this year.  The document also incorporates issues raised during consultations on the White Paper on Crime which is at an advanced stage of preparation in the Department of Justice and Equality. Some of the key issues raised include the following:

· Adapting the work of the JPCs to take account of more general local government reforms
· Achieving genuinely collaborative working among all stakeholders
· Ensuring a considered and strategic approach to local policing issues
· Ensuing proper communication and coordination between JPCs and other local structures including community based programmes and groups

JPCs are also being requested to consider the discussion document formally at their next meeting and furnish any proposals arising from that meeting to the Department of Justice and Equality as part of the consultation process.

The discussion document is available on the Department of Justice and Equality website at the link below: 

http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/JPC_Review_Nov12

Submissions in relation to the Discussion Points outlined in this document or any other matters relating to the operation of JPCs may be sent by e-mail to jpc@justice.ie or by post to:

JPC Review
Crime 1 Division
Department of Justice and Equality
94 St Stephen’s Green
Dublin 2

Please note submissions must arrive by the end of January, 2013.

29 November 2012

ENDS