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Garda Policing Plan 2008 an improvement on previous plans – Sinn Féin

8 January, 2008

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has described the Garda Policing Plan for 2008 as a huge improvement on previous plans and welcomed the inclusion of some of Sinn Féin's proposals from its submission to the plan.

Speaking today after the publication of the plan Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "This year is the first time the Garda Commissioner has sought the opinion of the public and other political parties before producing the policing plan. And I am very happy to see a number of proposals from our submission, made by my colleague and our Justice Spokesperson Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh, included in the plan.

"I want to welcome the emphasis on tackling serious drug and gun crime in 2008 which is what Sinn Féin has been demanding. However we are disappointed that resources for Garda Drugs Squads have not been doubled as Sinn Féin had proposed. Serious drug and gun crime is the biggest threat to our society and the Minister has quite rightly made this his number one priority for 2008. This should also be reflected in the strategic goals of the Gardaí.

"While the measures to tackle domestic and sexual violence do not go as far as Sinn Féin would like, we welcome the fact that this type of crime features in this year's plan. Previous plans have failed to include measures to tackle domestic and sexual violence despite the high prevalence and the gravity of this type of crime.

"The goal to ensure that the Gardaí are representative of the community they serve is a very worthy goal and is another of Sinn Féin's priorities. However the measures planned to ensure the delivery of this goal address ethnic minorities only. What is glaringly absent is any measure to attract people from urban working class communities into the Gardaí.

"The increase in public order patrols by 10% is very welcome. However the method of patrolling will be very important to building relations with communities. Sinn Féin would prefer to see Gardaí patrolling on foot and on bicycles rather than in cars and vans. I would also like to very much welcome the proposal to identify and target local public order 'hot spots' through weekly review, and put in place responsive actions and plans. This proposal has huge potential and is a very welcome addition to this year's policing plan.

"The proposal to increase the use of CCTV by 10% should not be progressed in the absence of a robust evaluation of the effectiveness of existing Garda CCTV schemes.

"Finally I want to welcome the increased engagement with Joint Policing Committees and local policing fora and the fact that JPC's are to have the power to make recommendations to inform divisional and district policing plans as appropriate.

"While this plan is a much improved plan on previous years we are quite aware that it remains simply a plan on paper and will amount to nothing without proper implementation. Sinn Féin will be watching closely and pushing for the implementation and resourcing of the positive measures contained within this plan." ENDS

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