Joint Policing Committee Minutes
Minutes of Meeting of The County Sligo Joint Policing Committee held on Friday 25th March 2022 at 10.30 a.m. in The Mespil Suite, Sligo Park Hotel
- Councillor Rosaleen O’Grady, Chairperson
- Councillor Marie Casserly, Vice-Chairperson
- Councillor Martin Connolly
- Councillor Tom Fox
- Councillor Dónal Gilroy
- Councillor Thomas Healy
- Councillor Dara Mulvey
- Chief Superintendent Aidan Glacken, An Garda Síochána
- Superintendent Padraic Burke, An Garda Síochána
- Sergeant Cara Kiernan, Crime Prevention Officer, An Garda Síochána
- Jim Molloy, Director of Services, Sligo County Council
- John Moran, Senior Executive Officer, Sligo County Council
- Margaret McConnell, Senior Executive Officer, Sligo County Council
- Kevin Colreavy, Administrative Officer, Sligo County Council
- Aisling Smyth, Administrative Officer, Sligo County Council
- Sharon Malone, Assistant Staff Officer, Sligo County Council
- Ms Vanessa Clarke, Sligo PPN
- Mr Michael Collins, Sligo PPN
- Ms Gail McGibbon, Sligo PPN
- Councillor Sinead Maguire
- Councillor Gerard Mullaney
- Councillor Arthur Gibbons
- Martin Lydon, Chief Executive
- Deputy Marian Harkin, TD
- David Tuffy, Sligo PPN
The Chairperson, Councillor Rosaleen O’Grady presided and welcomed everyone back to the first face to face meeting since the lifting of COVID restrictions.
1. TO CONFIRM MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING HELD ON 10th DECEMBER 2021:
Proposed by Councillor D. Gilroy
Seconded by Councillor D. Mulvey
“To confirm minutes of meeting of County Sligo JPC held on 10th December 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 as follows:
- Under Heading 1.2.2 – Crime Prevention – Local Garda Community Information Clinics – a new Garda Clinic (every Monday) at Collooney Garda Station has been set up.
- Under Heading 1.13 – Sligo Leitrim Division have upskilled 30 staff as Human Rights Champions, graduated as “Level 8 Certificate in Policing and Human Rights Law in Ireland” with University of Limerick. 10 Additional personnel have commenced this course in January 2022.
- Under Heading 2.12- Diversity & Inclusion Strategy to launch in April 2022
- Talk 2 Us Campaign – victim centre support campaign will launch in April 2022
- Recruitment Campaign conducted in February & March 2022.
The Chief Superintendent updated the Committee on current crime figures.
Chief Superintendent Glacken updated the meeting regarding the Strategy developed in 2019 for tackling organised crime gangs. In the first quarter of this year, one person was charged with directing organised crime, and there were two people charged with money laundering. He also reiterated An Garda Síochána’s commitment to defeating organised crime. In relation to burglaries, the Chief Superintendent advised the Committee that in the last 10 years burglary figures were down significantly.
The Chief Superintendent advised the Committee of the following:
- A new Sergeant would be taking up duty in Coolaney next month.
- An Garda Síochána were involved in more park and walk initiatives which commenced in 2021.
- An Garda Síochána numbers had increased from 2019 with more of a presence in the community.
- Domestic Abuse – numbers increasing from year to year. There was a greater level of reporting abuse, and also partner agencies encouraging victims of abuse to come forward.
- Launching “talk to us” Campaign in April 2022. This is a new initiative which enables service users access to a user friendly interactive directory containing useful contacts for vulnerable victims and people in need of support networks.
The Chief Superintendent reported to the meeting on two “human interest” stories as follows:
- On 22nd February, two ladies together with a 7 month old baby presented to Sligo Garda Station in a distressed state, the baby was choking, due to the rapid response of members of An Garda Síochána the baby’s life was saved. The Chief Superintendent wanted to compliment his staff for their response to this incident.
- On 14th March a lady entered the water at the Glass House Hotel, An Garda Síochána assisted by the Sligo Fire Service rescued the lady from the river.
Following a presentation from Cliffoney National school in relation to speeding in the village, Chief Superintendent Glacken advised the Committee that he had contacted the RSA and Go Safe have undertaken to locate safety cameras at Cliffoney village during the key times of school drop off (8.30 am – 9.30 am) and pick-up (2.30 – 3.30) where possible.
Councillor O’Grady thanked Superintendent Glacken for his comprehensive report and expressed her deep gratitude on the wide and extensive work being undertaken, particularly in relation to organised crime.
Councillor Casserly thanked the Superintendent for his report. She stated the message that Sligo is a safe place to live is very important and the general public need to hear this message. She also welcomed the launch of the 2022 Diversity and Inclusion Programme.
Councillor Mulvey also thanked the Chief Superintendent for his comprehensive report. He welcomed the new Sergeant in Coolaney and expressed his gratitude to Carmel McGrath for her work in Coolaney and wished her well in Collooney. He also wished Eamon Sweeney in Coolaney good wishes on his retirement.
Councillor Healy welcomed Carmel McGrath to Collooney. He also welcomed the presence of An Garda Síochána on the beat. He also highlighted the importance of the Text Alert system as rural areas are feeling particularly vulnerable.
Councillor Connolly welcomed the decrease in the number of reported burglaries.
Councillor Fox stated it was very encouraging to see reduction in crime figures and it is important this message is conveyed to the youth in our society.
Councillor Gilroy highlighted the need for legislation for treating stalking as a crime as at present the only crime committed is one of harassment. He also commended the Gardaí for their rescue of the lady from river at the Glass House and suggested the launch of a River Rescue Team should be considered.
Mr Michael Collins expressed the need for a more centralised Text Alert System as there are currently a number of unofficial text alert systems in operation.
Ms Vanessa Clarke expressed her appreciation from Community Groups to An Garda Síochána for their invaluable work in the community. She stated the importance of Community Groups becoming operational again after the COVID pandemic.
Chief Superintendent Glacken thanked all the members for their feedback and concluded his report by stating the function of the JPC was as a problem-solving group and everyone needs to held to account. He acknowledged the huge work being done by Community Groups. He advised the Committee that County Sligo will be establishing a Diversity Forum. He also stated that An Garda Síochána were 100 years in existence this year as an unarmed force.
In response Councillor O’Grady stated that she was delighted to hear that a Diversity Forum was being established. She advised the committee that Councillor Dónal Gilroy and Councillor Paul Taylor had met with Lisa Chambers in Sligo IT regarding the issue of stalking and complimented both Councillors for setting up this meeting and she expressed her desire to see legislation in place by the end of the year where stalking would be treated as a criminal offence.
4. UPDATE ON TEXT ALERT SYSTEM:
A report on this item was circulated to the Members prior to the meeting.
Ms Aisling Smyth, AO, advised Members that in County Sligo, Community Safety Text Alert Systems are administered and managed by each local Community Text Alert Group. Sligo County Council would like to put in place a countywide system that would facilitate the bringing together of all users under the same platform such as An Garda Síochána and Community Text Alert Administrators. In Quarter 1 of 2022, a Request for Tender was developed seeking a solution from suitable providers to address putting in place a countywide Community Safety Text Alert System/Platform. She also stated that Longford County Council is advancing the development of its Community Safety Text Alert system which they hope to launch shortly and are willing to work with Sligo County Council on this project. Ms Smyth advised the Committee that she would revert to future JPC Meeting once tenders had been received.
In response to queries on the Text Alert System, Mr Jim Molloy, DOS, advised the Committee no commitment could be given at this stage, until such time as tenders are received and it will be clear what resources are needed.
Chief Superintendent Glacken thanked Ms Smyth for her report and also complimented the work of Muintir Na Tire in promoting the Text Alert System.
Councillor O’Grady also expressed her gratitude to Ms Vanessa Clarke for her huge commitment to the system.
5. PRESENTATION – SARA – CRIME PREVENTION & REDUCTION STRATEGY:
Councillor O’Grady welcomed Sergeant Cara Kiernan, Crime Prevention Officer to the meeting.
Sergeant Kiernan addressed the meeting and advised the Committee that she had taken over the role from Jim Fox. She delivered a presentation on the role of the SARA model. She advised the Committee that the SARA model establishes a collaborative, systematic process to address issues of community safety and quality of life, and as SARA includes a broad representation of stakeholders in the problem-solving process, the problem is viewed as everyone’s problem and the cooperative effort to solve it is more powerful.
Councillor O’Grady welcomed Sergeant Kiernan to her new role and thanked her for her comprehensive presentation on this interesting and progressive system.
Councillor Healy also thanked Sergeant Kiernan for her presentation and suggested it should be rolled out across the county and he would be willing to work with her on this project.
6. NOTICES RECEIVED:
Item submitted by Councillor T. Healy
“To call on the Joint Policing Committee to write to the Minister for Justice to seek funding for CCTV on all main routes and satellite villages in Co Sligo and for this system to be tied into Sligo Garda Station or the local stations in the satellite villages”
Councillor Healy outlined the importance of this issue and stated that funding should be sought from the Minster for Justice.
In response, Jim Molloy, Director of Services highlighted the two main issues were the significant cost involved and also the issue of Data Protection. He stated it would be prudent to await pending legislation to ascertain what can and cannot be done.
Chief Superintendent Glacken stated that CCTV does act as a deterrent to crime. He also stated that An Garda Síochána are not permitted by law to retain records.
Councillor Fox queried whether the Data Commissioner could make a presentation to a monthly meeting of Sligo County Council on Data Protection.
It was agreed to await new legislation in relation to CCTV before proceeding further.
Item submitted by Councillor Sinead Maguire
As Councillor Sinead Maguire was absent from the meeting, it was agreed to defer her item until the next meeting of the Committee.
Item submitted by Councillor Marie Casserly
“To ask for an update on the measures taken by An Garda Síochána to address the issue of gender-based violence in the Sligo Leitrim Division”
In response, Chief Superintendent Glacken gave an update as follows:
- Operation Faoiseamh commenced on 1st April 2020, with the goal of providing enhanced proactive support for victims of domestic abuse, it was formed as part of An Garda Síochánás community engagement response to COVID 19.
- Divisional Protective Service Units deliver a consistent and professional approach to the investigation of specialised crime types, including sexual crime, child abuse and domestic abuse.
- A joint SATU/DPSU workshop was held on 27th October 2021 aimed towards decision makers and supervisors to assist in acute sexual Assault Investigations. AGS gaining an insight into what SATU and Agencies offers.
- SATU/AGS delivered a workshop to youths in 2020/2021 including a presentation on “Coercive Control”, AGS will continue to provide another workshop in 2022.
- Sligo IT Collaboration – DPSU made presentation to IT Sligo students on 15th March on legislation with regard to sexual offences and consent and the practicalities of reporting these matters to Gardaí.
- Victim Information Packs – compliance with conducting “In Person Call-Backs” to victims of Domestic Abuse as part of An Garda Síocháná’s Policy on Domestic Abuse Intervention 2017
- International Women’s Day Event – AGS in partnership with DVAS and Family Resource Centre held a women’s event in Sligo on 8th March, its aim to create awareness of support service available for women.
- Human Rights Champions – Sligo/Leitrim Division have upskilled 30 staff as Human Rights Champions, graduated in “Level 8 Certificate in Policing and Human Rights Law in Ireland” with University Limerick, 10 additional personnel have commenced this course in January 2022.
Councillor Casserly thanked Chief Superintendent Glacken and everyone in the Protection Services Unit for the work they undertake. She stated that there was a high number of domestic violence incidents especially during lockdown. She advised that young people need education on the warning signs in relation to Domestic Violence.
8. ARRANGEMENTS FOR NEXT MEETING:
The next meeting was scheduled for Friday 24th June at 10.30 am. Venue to be confirmed at a later date.
Ms Gail McGibbin expressed her gratitude to all involved in organising the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and stated it had been a hugely successful event.
Councillor Casserly congratulated An Garda Síochána on the occasion of their 100 years in existence.
In reply to a query from Councillor Casserly regarding the proposed new Garda Station in Sligo, Chief Superintendent Glacken stated that a response was being awaited from the OPW.
The Chairperson thanked the Committee for attending the meeting.
The business of the meeting concluded at 12.30 pm.
Meeting Date 25/03/2022