Joint Policing Committee Minutes
Minutes of Meeting of The County Sligo Joint Policing Committee held on Friday 10th December 2021 at 10.30 a.m. in The Members Room, County Hall, Riverside, Sligo & Via Sligo County Council’s Virtual Meeting Room
- Councillor Rosaleen O’Grady, Chairperson
- Councillor Marie Casserly, Vice-Chairperson
- Councillor Martin Connolly (via Virtual Meeting Room)
- Councillor Tom Fox (via Virtual Meeting Room)
- Councillor Donal Gilroy (via Virtual Meeting Room)
- Councillor Thomas Healy (via Virtual Meeting Room)
- Councillor Sinead Maguire (via Virtual Meeting Room)
- Councillor Dara Mulvey (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)
- Chief Superintendent Aidan Glacken, An Garda Síochána
- Superintendent Amanda Gaynor, An Garda Síochána (via Virtual Meeting Room)
- Superintendent Pauric Burke, An Garda Síochána (via Virtual Meeting Room)
- Martin Lydon, Chief Executive, Sligo County Council
- Jim Molloy, Director of Services, Sligo County Council, (via Virtual Meeting Room)
- John Moran, Senior Executive Officer, Sligo County Council
- Jane Golden, Staff Officer, Sligo County Council
- David Tuffy, Sligo PPN (via Virtual Meeting Room)
- Gail McGibbon, Sligo PPN (via Virtual Meeting Room)
- Vanessa Clarke, Sligo PPN
The Chairperson, Councillor Rosaleen O’Grady presided and welcomed all present to the meeting.
1. TO CONFIRM MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING HELD ON 24TH SEPTEMBER 2021:
Proposed by Councillor T. Fox
Seconded by Councillor M. Casserly
“To confirm minutes of meeting of County Sligo JPC held on 24th September 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 reported on some updates which have a Community Focus as follows:
Chief Superintendent Glacken highlighted the following updates:
- The 12th Sligo/Leitrim Divisional Garda Youth Awards in association with Sligo Credit Union took place on the 26th October on radio with Ocean FM
- The Launch of the Community Support Register and Video was held on the 3rd November in partnership with Muintir Na Tire
- Community Teams visited Boxing Clubs in the Division to develop stronger relationships which was positively received
- A new Hospital Watch Scheme was launched in October by the Crime Prevention Officer
- Crime prevention talks were given at AGMs of farming organisations. There is ongoing liaison with representative groups and the Department of Agriculture on rural crime. Multi-agency checkpoints are being conducted in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture. There is regular attendance at marts in the Division
- Correspondence was received from Men’s Aid, thanking Sligo Garda for their victim centric approach used while dealing with a victim of male domestic abuse
- Operation Bulldog – underway targeting organised crime gangs. Working with stakeholders to eliminate drug crime and intimidation. Increased footfall and the restructuring of community policing units have been put in place to tackle drug crime in the Division
- Jerusalem Dance – most liked tweet in 2021. Chief Superintendent Glacken thanked all the team for their participation in this initiative which was well received by the public
Garda Transition Year Programme
A 3-day programme took place from the 15th to 17th November with 21 students attending the event spanning seven separate Secondary Schools. The students met with a number of special units to include: DPSU, Drugs Unit, Regional ASU, Garda Water Unit, Garda Dog Unit, Scenes of Crime Unit, Roads Policing Unit, Detective Branch and the Divisional Public Order Unit. The Programme was a great success and the students enjoyed the experience. A number of parents contacted the Community Policing Office to express their thanks after the event.
A planned search operation under Operation Dualgas was conducted on lands at Holywell and Lough Gill on 16th November. Searches were conducted with assistance from the Garda Water Unit and the Garda Dog Unit. Some items of interest were recovered and are being analysed.
A planned search operation at Garavogue Villas on 29th November resulted in the seizure of drugs and replica firearms.
Successful Circuit Court Prosecutions
A male was sentenced to 53 months for a robbery at The Mall Pharmacy and Centra, Knappagh Road in September 2020.
A male was sentenced to 23 months (suspended for 24 months) for sexual exploitation of a child in 2000.
Two Diversity Interns have been assigned to the Sligo/Leitrim Diversity Team under the Garda Diversity Internship Programme (Garda Access Programme). This paid programme is a key element of An Garda Síochána’s strategic efforts to reflect society, diversify the workforce and strengthen relationships with communities.
Purple Day for Disabilities – on 3rd December, the Garda Station was lit up to mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Human Rights Champions – Sligo/Leitrim Division have upskilled 20 staff members as Human Rights Champions who have graduated in a Level 8 “Certificate in Policing and Human Rights Law in Ireland” with University Limerick. 10 additional members commenced this course in September 2021.
Foundation of An Garda Síochána – 2022 will mark 100 years since the formation of An Garda Siochana. A series of local and national events are being planned to mark this occasion. Chief Superintendent acknowledged the ongoing assistance of communities in assisting them to carry out their duties.
Disability Bay at Sligo Garda Station – thanks were relayed to Sligo County Council on their securing of funding from the National Transport Authority to carry out junction tightening and pedestrian crossing works at the Chapel Street/Teeling Street junction. A designated disabled bay will also be constructed outside Sligo Garda Station.
Diversity Strategy 2022
Preparations are underway to update a new work plan for 2022. Goals in Quarter 1 of 2022 includes:
- The creation of a Sligo/Leitrim Diversity Directory (Supports Services Support Pack) Q-coded for easy user accessibility
- Completion of an external survey with stakeholders and support services to ascertain “How can the AGS be more accessible to our communities”
- External Launch of 2022 Diversity Strategy
- Holding a Little Blue Heroes Event in April 2022
- A Domestic Abuse and Coercive Control Awareness Campaign
- Sign Language Training – Training of a minimum of 3 dedicated staff members in Level 3 Sign Language
An update on Crime Figures was given as follows:
- Burglaries were down 13% from 91 to 79
- Thefts were down 10% from 372 to 273
- Public Order Offences were down 15% from 253 to 215
- Driving without insurance detections were notably up by 44% from 61 to 88
- Cultivate or manufacture of a drug detections were up 60% from 5 to 8
- Drugs Driving detections were up 127% from 30 to 68 – these detections were aided by improved testing/roadside technologies
- Incidents of Domestic Violence were recorded on a par with last year
Other crimes highlighted included:
- A sentence of 5 years, 2 months for an aggravated burglary in November 2018
- The seizure of €24,000 worth of drugs and €3,000 cash in November – case in the Circuit Court
- Convictions of 2 people for a total of 67 months for arson/damage to the value of €80,000 in Strandhill – linked to drug debt/intimidation
- A 55-month sentence for the robbery of a pharmacy
- Heroin and firearms found in a house in November – two arrests made and a file sent to the DPP
- A Grow house found in Ballymote with drugs to the value of €208,000
Councillor O’Grady thanked Superintendent Glacken for his comprehensive report and acknowledged the support of the Credit Union for their involvement in the Youth Awards. The success of the Jerusalem Dance was also highlighted as being a positive initiative which gave a sense of community.
Councillor Casserly congratulated An Garda Síochána for the huge volume of work and for keeping the community central to this. Initiatives involving the Little Blue Heroes, sign language and social media were also acknowledged.
Councillor Maguire stated that the Human Rights Training was a very positive step, along with the sign language training and the recruitment of the Diversity Interns.
Councillor Gilroy complimented An Garda Síochána on their detection of drug driving offences due to the use of new technology.
Councillor Healy highlighted the continued benefits and need for engagement with young people in schools. The positive work currently being delivered in schools by An Garda Síochána was acknowledged. This included interventions with families.
Councillor Fox acknowledged the work being carried out in multi-cultural communities, with the Boxing Clubs and rural farming communities.
Councillor Mulvey thanked An Garda Síochána for their work in rural areas, with young people and in the area of disability. It was seen as encouraging that burglary figures were down and it was hoped that this would continue. The importance of the Be Safe – Be Seen Campaign, particularly in relation to walking and cycling was highlighted.
Chief Superintendent Glacken thanked all of the members for their feedback and concluded his report by stating that:
- An Garda Síochána is a human rights-based organisation with the protection of the vulnerable and inclusivity being central to its work
- The increase in the use of cocaine nationally is being reflected in the increase of drug driving offences. This is a wider societal issue.
- An Garda Síochána deliver programmes in Primary and Secondary Schools throughout the County – this initiative will continue
- Be Safe, Be Seen Initiative – Hi Vis vests are available to schools and community groups
Superintendent Gaynor stated that their Schools Programme included inputs for Career Guidance Events, Garda Stands and involvement in Science Week in IT Sligo.
4. NOTICE RECEIVED OF ISSUES TO BE RAISED:
(i) Received from Councillor Marie Casserly;
To ask for a progress report on the building purchased by the OPW last year to upgrade and improve the current facilities for Garda at Tubbercurry Garda Station, and to enquire that when completed will this alleviate in any way the continuing issue of the lack of space at Sligo Garda Station?”
Chief Superintendent Glacken responded by stating that the estate of An Garda Síochána is managed by the OPW. New plans will be advanced once the new Architect is in place.
Superintendent Burke stated that the addition of the new Garda Station in Tubbercurry will modernise the functionality of An Garda Síochána and will add to a greater presence within the town. A briefing will take place once the Architect is in place.
Councillor Casserly acknowledged the support of the local Councillors and that of the late Councillor Margaret Gormley and requested an update on when the new Architect would be starting and when the works would be completed.
Chief Superintendent Glacken stated that it was proposed to have the new Architect in place by the end of the month, with design work starting after this.
Councillor Mulvey and Councillor Connolly supported the motion and thanked Chief Superintendent Glacken for the update.
Chief Superintendent Glacken acknowledged correspondence received re: additional resources for the Protective Services Unit. At present, there were 800 live investigations, some historical. The resourcing allocation for this unit is under review.
6. ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE NEXT MEETING:
Mr. J. Moran informed the members that the following were the dates for JPC Meetings during 2022 as follows:
- Friday 25th March
- Friday 24th June
- Friday 30th September
- Friday 16th December
These meeting dates were noted and agreed by the members.
The following three questions were covered under A.O.B. as agreed with the Chairperson prior to the meeting. These questions were circulated to all members prior to the meeting.
1. Received from Councillor D. Gilroy:
“To ask that the Sligo Joint Policing Committee consider the Petition from the Cliffoney Community Forum conveying the concerns of parents and the wider community of Cliffoney about the speed of vehicles through the village and especially in the vicinity of the school”
Councillor Gilroy stated that there needed to be a more proactive approach to the issue of speeding in Cliffoney. A petition conducted by Cliffoney Community Forum was presented to Chief Superintendent Glacken.
It was highlighted that pupils from Cliffoney N.S had conducted a Road Safety traffic survey as part of their Green Schools Project. Their survey found that out of 186 vehicles passing through the village over the space of an hour, 98 were over the speed limit. The dangers of speeding though the village were highlighted, particularly as access to the school was onto this busy main road. This issue is also on the agenda of a Sligo-Drumcliff MD Meeting.
Councillor Healy supported the motion and highlighted that access to the Health Centre in Cliffoney also opened out onto this road.
Chief Superintendent Glacken thanked Councillor Gilroy for the petition and acknowledged the research carried out by the pupils. It was highlighted that there are three strands to the reduction of speed which includes Engineering, Education and Enforcement. Additional enforcement will be looked into and the issue will be raised with the NRA re: Go Safe vans.
Mr. M. Lydon gave an update and stated that Sligo County Council were in discussions with the TII regarding a suggested pedestrian crossing in the village. A review of the footpaths in the village had commenced and funding for minor footpath repair would be considered. There would also be two new bus shelters in the village.
Councillor Casserly welcomed the update.
Councillor Gilroy thanked everyone for their support, particularly the engineering staff and An Garda Síochána for their commitment to the issue. It was stated that Cliffoney Community Forum will assist where possible.
Councillor D. Mulvey enquired about an issue with speeding on the R294. Inspector Burke stated that a Garda Traffic Unit had visited the residents on this road and that the speed limit is too fast. Extra enforcement actions will be considered.
2. Received from Councillor T. Healy:
“To ask Superintendent Gaynor for an update report on the Garda Station in Collooney as there are concerned residents and businesses in the area. There is a lack of Garda presence in the station leading to a concern that the station may close”
Chief Superintendent Glacken assured Councillor Healy that Collooney Garda Station would not be closing.
Superintendent Gaynor gave an update on resources in Collooney Garda Station and stated that issues were responded to and addressed as they occurred. Calls to the station were redirected into Sligo when Garda were on patrol. South Sligo were supported by Sligo HQ with resources kept within the area.
Councillor Healy informed the members that he hopes to have a community meeting in 2022 to look at the issues of anti-social behaviour in Collooney and Ballisodare. The importance and need for a Community Garda Officer was highlighted. The provision of resources was welcomed.
3. Received from Councillor S. Maguire:
“In light of the ongoing anti-social behaviour which occurs regularly on The Mall, this motion requests that this council establish a forum of stakeholders to include An Garda Síochána, IT Sligo, residents and business owners to address these problems and erect signage along The Mall to remind people that this is a residential area and people need to be mindful of this particularly after 10pm”
Councillor Maguire highlighted the issues and informed the members that Inspectors Kilcoyne, Cummins and Devaney had met with the residents and an increased Garda presence in the area had been agreed.
Councillor O’Boyle supported the motion and stated that anti-social behaviour was an issue in other areas of Sligo and that IT Sligo and student’s accommodation providers needed to take more responsibility regarding the issue.
Ms. G McGibbon informed the members that The Purple Flag Group are having conversations with the Student’s Union and have the support of Sligo County Council and An Garda Síochána. An inspection of 26 sites is due to be completed in January 2022 between 5pm and 5am as part of the Purple Flag initiative.
Councillor Casserly commended Councillor Maguire on the work carried out on this issue to date and also acknowledged the work of Sligo BID and the Purple Flag Group.
Councillor Healy and Councillor Fox supported the motion.
Councillor Maguire welcomed the support of the members and emphasised that The Mall is the epicentre of this anti-social behaviour given its location. The support of the Purple Flag Group was welcomed and it was suggested that a partnership approach with regard to the issue would be useful.
The Chairperson thanked everyone and wished members a Happy Christmas.
The business of the meeting concluded at 12.10pm
Meeting Date 10/12/2021