Garda Report to Joint Policing Committee in Dublin in May 2011 – Michael Feehan – Ast Commission​er

Joint Policing Committee
Monday 30th May 2011

Report of Assistant Commissioner Michael Feehan Dublin Metropolitan Region.
In this report I will concentrate on the crime and traffic statistics since the last meeting in March
2011 and the policing arrangements for the recent visits of Her Royal Highness, Queen
Elizabeth II and President Obama. I will also comment on the work of the Garda Racial and
Diversity Office together with initiatives in place to police small public service vehicles.

Crime

Since my last report the overall level of Property Crime has decreased across the City. This
category includes crimes such as Burglaries, Robberies from the Establishment and Theft from
Shops and Theft from Vehicles.

Crimes Against the Person, which includes Assaults, have remained stable over the last six
months though with a slight decrease in the recent past.

I am continuing to target organised and armed crime across the City with a number of
operations in place to achieve this. These operations are intelligence-driven and continue to
be seen locally as having an effect on the activities of persons involved in organised crime.
The support of local communities is vital to the success of these initiatives and I would appeal
to all members of this committee to promote that message.

Traffic

The number of people killed on our roads stands at 5 so far this year compared with 10 deaths
in the same period in 2010. While the number of deaths has decreased An Garda Síochána is
conscious that each of these deaths is a tragedy for families and the wider community. I have
implemented a focussed Traffic Casualty Reduction Strategy across the City over the past two
months which I believe has contributed to the reduction in fatalities. This is an area which is
under constant review and will continue to be prioritised across the City.

Recent Visit of Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and President Obama

As you will be aware the recent visits of Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and President
Obama involved significant policing operations being put in place. The planning for these visits
required very significant co-operation with a range of organisations and individuals, not least of
which were Dublin City Council, Dublin Bus and the Business Community in the city. That the
visits were a success is in no small way due to the co-operation which was forthcoming. I
would like to thank all our partners for the efforts they made in ensuring that both visits went off
so well.

Sale of Headshop Products

The introduction of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2010 on the 23rd of August last has been
very effective in shutting down the ‘Headshop’ industry in this country. Almost 100 ‘Headshop’
outlets closed their doors and psychoactive substances were seized by Gardaí resulting in
over 4 tonnes of product being appropriately destroyed. Almost all proprietors of ‘Headshops’
cooperated with Gardaí in handing over stock in their possession at this time.
There was only one isolated incident where a ‘Headshop’ owner attempted to keep stock to
sell on the illicit market but this was discovered by Gardaí and this shop owner is now before
the courts on relating charges.

The Garda National Drug Unit is continuing to monitor ‘Headshop’ outlets that remain open for
business throughout the country.

The Garda National Drug Unit together with local Drugs Units are consistently monitoring
suspect activity regarding the sale of all controlled and psychoactive substances. Incidents
which come to light regarding any persons, including Headshop owners, are fully investigated
and prosecutions will be taken in all appropriate circumstances.

Policing of Small Public Service Vehicles (Taxi)

There are 98 permanent taxi ranks in Dublin with 490 spaces. This is supplemented by 24
night stands which operate from 8pm to 6am with 145 spaces and 6 occasional ranks with 26
spaces (located in the vicinity of sporting venues). There are approximately 12,000 licensed
Taxis, with 19,000 driver’s licenses issued by the Carriage Office for the Dublin taximeter area.
These figures are from the Dublin City Council appointed stands (street service vehicles) Bye
Laws 2009.

As can be seen from these statistics, there are challenges regarding the number of taxi rank
spaces to cater for the number of vehicles which work around the city.
In addition there are temporary night stands to support the number working at night, but this
measure does not cater for the number of small public service vehicles at work during the
night. This in turn leads to the small public service vehicles plying for hire wherever they get
an opportunity, mainly in the vicinity of busy night social venues in the city centre.
Dublin City Council is responsible for the allocation of Taxi Ranks and is currently preparing a
new bye-law to increase the number of spaces.

In 2010 there were 1153 fixed charge notices issued to taxis for plying for hire illegally and this
year to date there 732 have been issued.

Illegal parking of taxis is an ongoing problem which is subject to constant monitoring by Gardaí
involved in Roads Policing in the Dublin Region.
Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 2011 (Begging)

As you will be aware the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act, 2011 became law on the 2nd
February 2011. In summary, under this new legislation, a person who begs in an aggressive,
intimidating or threatening manner will be guilty of an offence. New powers enable An Garda
Síochána to direct anyone begging near ATMs, night safes, shop entrances etc. to leave the
area.

Arising from this new legislation I directed that operations were to be put in place to address
the begging problem across the city. That operation has involved Gardaí directing people to
desist from begging and in making arrests in appropriate cases.
Significant cautions and arrests have taken place to date and reports from the community have
indicated that the level of begging has reduced considerably. The operation will continue for
the foreseeable future.

Garda Racial and Diversity Office (GRIO)

The Garda Racial and Diversity office was establishment in 1999 which is responsible for
coordinating, monitoring and advising on all aspects of policing in the area of cultural diversity.
In addition the Commissioner approved the appointment of Ethnic Liaison Gardaí at District
level who liaise with the leaders of ethnic communities and inform and assure the ethnic
communities of Garda services and protection. The Ethnic Liaison Officers (ELO) are
responsible for ensuring the provision of a quality service to the members of minority
communities within their district. Encouraging the reporting of racist incidents and crime is one
of the main focus points of the work of ELO’s. Central to an anti-discrimination strategy is the
fact that the ELO’s act as necessary to meet emerging needs of minority communities, which
include:-

• Identifying local issues and problems
• Assist in informing local communities about current Garda strategy
• Aid to promote public support and cooperation