Joint Policing Committee Minutes
Minutes of The Meeting of The County Sligo Joint Policing Committee held on Friday 25th June 2021 at 10.30 a.m. in The Council Chamber, County Hall, Riverside, Sligo & Via Sligo County Council’s Virtual Meeting Room
- Mr. Aidan Glacken, Chief Superintendent, An Garda Síochána, (Present in Chamber)
- Ms. Amanda Gaynor, Superintendent, An Garda Síochána (via Virtual Meeting Room)
- Councillor Rosaleen O’Grady (Chair) (via Virtual Meeting Room)
- Councillor Marie Casserly (Vice-Chair) (via Virtual Meeting Room)
- Councillor Sinéad Maguire, (Present in Chamber)
- Councillor Martin Connolly (via Virtual Meeting Room)
- Councillor Tom Fox (via Virtual Meeting Room)
- Councillor Dónal Gilroy (via Virtual Meeting Room)
- Councillor Gerard Mullaney (via Virtual Meeting Room)
- Councillor Gino O’Boyle (via Virtual Meeting Room)
- Deputy Marian Harkin T.D (via Virtual Meeting Room)
- Ms. Vanessa Clarke, Sligo PPN (via Virtual Meeting Room)
- Ms Gail McGibbon, Sligo PPN (via Virtual Meeting Room)
- Mr. John Moran, A/Director of Services, Sligo County Council (Present in Chamber)
- Ms. Jane Golden, Staff Officer, Sligo County Council, (Present in Chamber)
- Mr Tom Kilfeather, A/Chief Executive, Sligo County Council
- Ms Emer Connolly, A/Senior Executive Officer, Sligo County Council
The Chairperson, Councillor Rosaleen O’Grady presided and welcomed all present to the meeting.
1. TO CONFIRM MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING HELD ON 26th MARCH 2021:
Proposed by Councillor D. Gilroy
Seconded by Councillor G. Mullaney
“To confirm minutes of meeting of County Sligo JPC held on 26th March 2021.”
2. MATTERS ARISING:
There were no matters arising.
3. SLIGO JPC STRATEGIC PLAN 2017-2022 (UPDATE ON ACTIONS):
Sligo JPC Strategic Plan 2017 – 2022
Chief Superintendent Glacken highlighted some actions which have been updated in the Strategic Plan.
- Community Engagement Clinics in Cranmore and Caltragh
- Deployment of mobile patrols from 26th June
- Dedicated email address for Sligo Community Engagement Unit to report antisocial behaviour
- 4x4 Jeep allocated to Operation Dualgas. 280 patrols
- Garda National Community Engagement Day held in Skreen, Sligo Town and Grange
- Additional functionality on Pulse to capture Hate Crimes
- Conviction regarding a murder trial
- Two Garda representatives nominated to the Age Friendly Alliance, Sligo
- Use your Brain not your Fists Garda Campaign delivered to approximately 200 secondary school students
Although Covid has restricted the delivery of the plan to some extent, there continues to be positive outdoor interagency operations conducted on an ongoing basis.
It was noted that the demographic in Sligo has changed since the plan was put in place and it was agreed to update the plan to reflect this.
Support and ongoing patrols at beaches and coastal areas were highlighted.
Chief Superintendent Glacken gave a brief presentation on crime statistics and highlighted a roster change which will provide greater Garda coverage in communities, a decrease in assault and burglaries, an increase in drug/drink driving and a decrease in reported Domestic Violence cases. The breaching of orders in relation to Domestic Violence was highlighted as a cause for concern.
Chief Superintendent Glacken stated that there continues to be consistent compliance with Covid – 19 guidelines and he thanked members of the public for this.
4. NOTICES RECEIVED OF ISSUES TO BE RAISED:
(i) Received from Marian Harkin T.D.;
A question in relation to the maintenance of a permanent Armed Response Unit in Sligo.
Chief Superintendent Glacken confirmed that there was no Armed Response Unit (ARU) in Sligo at present and highlighted that these units are regional resources. There are currently ARU’s based in Claremorris, Galway, Dundalk and Ballyshannon, with a new ARU based in Cavan. It was noted that Garda Commissioner Drew Harris makes the operational decision as to where ARU’s are located and that Sligo Garda Station does not meet the criteria required to accommodate an ARU at present.
Chief Superintendent Glacken stated that Sligo is facilitated and well supported by ARU’s in Ballyshannon and Cavan. He also confirmed that there are 26 An Garda Siochana personnel qualified and equipped to carry firearms to provide an armed response when required.
Deputy Marian Harkin reiterated her concern that there was no ARU in Sligo and stated that she felt it was a serious issue. Deputy Harkin also queried if the ARU in Ballyshannon was available on a 24 hour basis. Chief Superintendent Glacken agreed to clarify this.
(ii) Received from Councillor Sinead Maguire;
To ask this committee to seek additional day time Gardaí/ Sligo County Council wardens to assist with visitor /parking management to prevent dangerous, wild parking and preventable stress and accidents. It is highly predictable as to when additional support is required: Thursday - Sunday (and bank holiday Mondays) during July and August - particularly during periods of fine weather.
Chief Superintendent Glacken stated that there were many demands on road policing during weekends and Bank Holidays and that he felt that resources were adequate. There are bye laws in place and heightened patrols in coastal areas, however, there remains issues around parking where there are no bye laws and it is difficult to issue fines, particularly to people outside of the jurisdiction. A multiagency approach is required and it was agreed that more people will be visiting coastal areas and staycationing over the holiday season.
Councillor Sinead Maguire highlighted that people from other areas will not be aware of the bye laws and asked for additional resources to be put in place, particularly at night time when a Garda presence would be beneficial.
(iii) Received from Councillor Sinead Maguire;
To ask this committee to allocate additional night time Garda support to rural villages with a large tourism impact. Community volunteers know it can take a long time for Gardaí to arrive to support them, they are less likely to report crimes and issues. Garda presence is needed in our coastal areas to match the surge in numbers and to support our communities. Again, Thursday - Sunday (and bank holiday Mondays) during July and August - particularly during periods of fine weather - would help our volunteers to manage this pressure on our communities.
Chief Superintendent Glacken informed the members that there were additional personnel allocated to Garda Stations throughout the county on a temporary basis throughout the summer period. There were also additional patrols. Superintendent Gaynor confirmed that Strandhill receives a lot of attention with patrols from Sligo to Strandhill and a significant Garda presence, particularly over Bank Holiday weekends.
(iv) Received from Councillor Dónal Gilroy;
Can the JPC update members on how many speeding penalties have been issued for 2019 and 2020 in the 50kph Zones at the following N15 Villages
Chief Superintendent Glacken stated that it was difficult to provide statistics as speeding detection was carried out by Go Safe vans on behalf of An Garda Siochana. An Garda Siochana’s emphasis is on reducing road speed and increasing the visibility of An Garda Siochana as a deterrent.
Chief Superintendent Glacken confirmed that 14 speeding penalties had been issued on the N15.
Councillor Dónal Gilroy highlighted that speeding through small villages in North Sligo was an issue along with increased amounts of traffic.
Chief Superintendent Glacken informed the members that the location of Go Safe vans had been changed last year and that he would check where they were positioned in relation to this area. Superintendent Amanda Gaynor also agreed to look at the possibility of providing additional enforcement with a view to improving the situation in these areas.
(v) Received from Councillor Dónal Gilroy;
Can the JPC advise members on how many speeding penalties have been issued in 30KPH Zones in Co Sligo since they were introduced (Circa 2017)
Chief Superintendent Glacken confirmed that 14 speeding penalties had been issued by An Garda Siochana and that other statistics are available through the Road Safety Authority.
(vi) Received from Councillor Dónal Gilroy;
Can the JPC update members on what the resources are going to be in place this year to deal with trespassing by visitors on Agricultural Lands in scenic areas and what advice should be given to farmers as to how to deal with uninvited intrusions on their properties.
Chief Superintendent Glacken highlighted that the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act, 1994 stated that it was a criminal offense to enter the property of others and that any such trespassing should be reported to An Garda Siochana. Reference was also made to the Leave No Trace initiative which promotes responsible outdoor recreation.
Councillor Dónal Gilroy stated that this was an ongoing issue on privately owned land, along with the issue of fires being lit in forests and trespassing on Coillte land. Councillor Dónal Gilroy requested the assistance of An Garda Siochana with these matters.
(vii) Received from Councillor Marie Casserly;
To seek an update on recent activities in Sligo on the Diversity and Integration Strategy that was mentioned at the last JPC meeting.
Chief Superintendent Glacken gave a presentation on the Diversity/Equality/Inclusion/Transparency Strategy 2021, Sligo/Leitrim Division to the members which was very well received by all and considered a very positive initiative. The Strategy will be reviewed after a year. A National Equality Diversity Strategy – Sligo/Leitrim is also in place, with Sligo/Leitrim being the only division to have its own Equality Diversity Strategy. Chief Superintendent Glacken stated that all strategies were interlinked and a key and integral part of An Garda Siochana’s policing approach in serving communities.
(viii) Received from Councillor Marie Casserly;
To seek an update on how the refurbishment of Sligo Garda Station complies with Part M of the Building Regulations Access and Use and whether a Disabled Access Certificate (DAC) has or will be issued at the completion of the works.
A response from the OPW regarding this query was circulated to members prior to the meeting.
Chief Superintendent Glacken confirmed that the Garda Station was exempt from the requirement to have a Disabled Access Certificate.
Councillor Marie Casserly stated her serious concern with regard to this and the suitability of the Garda Station in Sligo Town to meet the needs of people with disabilities which was in breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Chief Superintendent Glacken reported that this was an ongoing issue as the footprint of the building does not lend itself to meet the needs of people with disabilities and An Garda Siochana personnel who work in the building. Proposed plans for the refurbishing of the station would not alleviate the problem.
Councillor Marie Casserly requested that this issue be brought to the attention of the An Garda Siochana Estate Management team. Chief Superintendent Glacken confirmed that he had already done this and that he would bring back a response to the next meeting.
Councillor Rosaleen O’Grady concurred with Councillor Marie Casserly and stated that she had visited the building and had been shocked at the standard of the building. The rights of the employees were also not being taken into consideration.
Mr. John Moran, A/Director of Services noted email correspondence from the An Garda Siochana’s Estate Management Department in response to Councillor Marie Casserly question regarding Sligo Garda Station. This was circulated to members prior to the meeting.
6. ARRANGEMENTS FOR NEXT MEETING:
The next JPC Meeting will be held on Friday 24th September 2021.
7. ANY OTHER BUSINESS:
Deputy Marian Harkin complimented An Garda Siochana on their Inclusion Strategy and stated that it was a very comprehensive piece of work and wondered how this work could be promoted and replicated. All members were in agreement.
Deputy Marian Harkin also expressed her concern at an issue which had recently come to light regarding the cancellation of Domestic Violence 999 calls by An Garda Siochana and she is awaiting to hear a report on the situation.
Ms. Gail McGibbon, Sligo PPN, informed the members that the next full Purple Flag assessment is scheduled for October/November 2021. This will be a 12 hour assessment from 5pm to 5am.
Ms. Gail McGibbon also highlighted an issue with regard to outdoor dining. Anti-social behaviour and an increase of people with addiction/substance abuse issues around the River Walk Area is interfering with the enjoyment of outdoor dining in this area. It was agreed to hold a meeting between Chief Superintendent Glacken, Superintendent Amanda Gaynor and Ms. Gail McGibbon to discuss this matter.
The Chair thanked everyone and concluded the meeting at 12noon.
Meeting Date 25/06/2021