Waterford included in the Community Safety Partnership Pilot

Waterford included in the Community Safety Partnership Pilot

Green Party TD for Waterford, Marc Ó Cathasaigh TD welcomed the inclusion of Waterford in the Community Safety Partnership pilot scheme which was announced today and will also include Dublin North Inner City and Longford. The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, today named the three locations where new Local Community Safety Partnerships will be established on a pilot basis as a first step to strengthening community policing nationwide.

It is envisaged that every local authority area will have a Community Safety Partnership, with dedicated funding and staff, once the policy is rolled out nationally as part of reforms outlined by the Commission on the Future of Policing. The Partnerships will replace and will be more community led than the existing Joint Policing Committee structures.

Speaking after the announcement, Deputy Ó Cathasaigh said: “I am pleased to see that Waterford has been included in this pilot which will also include Dublin North Inner City and Longford. Waterford has an opportunity now to shape community policing into the future as this scheme will be rolled out nationwide once the pilot plans have completed and been evaluated.

Participating in this pilot will be a new approach and can only yield positive results for our city and county. This initiative is rooted in the community and will see Waterford community interests come together to work with state services to draw up local plans to prevent crime in Waterford.”

He continued: “Waterford based residents and business, community, youth and minority interests will work with  Waterford Council, An Garda Síochána, Tusla and the HSE to devise and implement the Local Community Safety Plans. Because this process will be Community-Led, the outcome will reflect community priorities and local safety issues.

We all want to live in a safe community and this new partnership will help achieve this. The end goal is to make communities safer for families, residents and businesses and involving them in the process will provide a unique and local insight into the issues that directly affect them. The next step now is to engage with residents, community representatives and other stakeholders in Waterford to progress this initiative.”

The pilots, which will run for two years, will be located in the Dublin North Inner City Local Electoral Area, Waterford City and County Council and Longford.  The locations of the pilots were chosen based on factors including population density, crime rates and deprivation.

Each Local Community Safety Partnership will have an independent chairperson and will develop a Local Community Safety Plan. Minister McEntee is making funding available from her Department for the pilot projects.

Minister McEntee said: “The community safety approach recognises that the problems communities face are not just limited to policing issues. Bringing the right services together, working with each other to tackle the underlying issues which impact on our community and the sense of safety within the community is at the heart of the Local Community Safety Partnership model.

But what will drive the agenda and objectives of the Partnerships will be the community itself. The community needs to be central in identifying what it needs and helping to shape solutions.”

Training will be provided to support the capacity of the Partnerships to work together, including individual training for residents to develop their understanding of their role and to build confidence in representing their community.

The Minister added: “The pilots in Longford, Waterford and Dublin’s North Inner City area will have a critical role to play in shaping the new Partnerships.

“They will be carefully evaluated and any necessary changes can be made to ensure that the Local Community Safety Partnerships work as effectively as possible. After the pilot and evaluation process, Local Community Safety Pilots will be rolled out across the country in all local authority areas.”

More Information

Community Safety Policy

In line with the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, the Department of Justice has been developing a new national Community Safety policy which will feed into the development of a new Policing and Community Safety Bill. It is intended that the Bill will redefine the functions of An Garda Síochána to include community safety. However, as the Commission recognised, community safety is not just the responsibility of An Garda Síochána. There is a role for other agencies of Government, such as health and social services, as well as other sectors of society. The proposed legislation will place an obligation on relevant Departments, State agencies and local authorities to cooperate with An Garda Síochána in delivering community safety. 

What is Community Safety?

Community safety is about people being safe and feeling safe in their community. It is much wider than crime or fear of crime. It can include activities like responsiveness of emergency services, mental health issues, educational work with young people, drug prevention, alcohol and substance abuse, domestic violence, youth crime, anti-social behaviour, hate crime and the built environment. Responses need to be community-specific and will require a range of different services, for example strengthening youth services or increasing street lighting. Improving community safety requires a multi-sectoral approach, strong inter-agency collaboration and engagement from the community.

Who will be on the Local Community Safety Partnerships?

Membership of the Local Community Safety Partnership will include:

  • Residents;
  • Community representatives (including representatives of youth, new communities and the voluntary sector);
  • Business and education representatives;
  • Relevant public services in the area, including HSE, Tusla, AGS, and the local authority;
  • Local councillors.

An independent Chairperson will chair the Partnership.