Green Party Spokesperson for Justice, Patrick Costello TD has welcomed the increase in frontline Gardaí through new recruits and admin staff in 2021, but has called for them to be used to support and strengthen community policing.
Commenting after the Budget, he said: “I welcome the announcement that 2021 will see up to 620 new trainee Gardaí recruits and the region of 500 Garda staff recruited to fill administrative and back-office functions. This is a great development and means more Gardaí working in specialist units and more Gardaí battling organised crime.
“At a time when many complain that they don’t even know who their local community police are, these measures will put our Gardaí out onto the frontline where they belong to help change that. Gardaí are imperative in helping to protect our vulnerable and helping to detect and prevent crime in our communities. These recruits must be now visible and engaged in our communities and developing mutually respectful partnerships to achieve community safety.
“As we know, community policing promotes local problem-solving strategies to address the underlying causes of crime, whilst also addressing the fear of crime by providing reassurance to communities. However, we also need long-term investment for targeted youth outreach services. These services engage with vulnerable and socially excluded young people and helps to divert them away from crime and to connect them with supports that will aid them in addressing their needs.
“The €70 million investment in youth work by my colleague, Minister Roderic O’Gorman, coupled with the investment in new recruits, will therefore play a huge role in helping to build a more visible police presence and in helping to tackle the rise in anti-social behaviour that my constituents raise with me.
“It is imperative that we work to implement a creative, community-led approach so that people can begin to feel safe again. These combined measures are a good first step in achieving that goal and helping to rebuild public confidence.”