Laois Crime: What are Joint Policing Committees?

Explainer

Express Reporter

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Portlaoise Garda Station and Laois Offaly Divisional HQ.

Portlaoise Garda Station and Laois Offaly Divisional HQ.

What are Joint Policing Committees? 

Joint Policing Committees (JPCs) aim to develop greater consultation, cooperation and synergy on policing and crime issues between An Garda Síochána, Local Authorities and elected local representatives. JPCs also facilitate the participation of the community and voluntary sectors in this regard.   

A JPC is made up of:-

Chairperson – Local Authority representative
Garda Officers nominated by the Garda Commissioner
Local Authority members
Members of Oireachtas for area
Community/Voluntary sector representatives
 What are the functions of JPCs?

Serve as a forum for consultations, discussions and recommendations on policing and crime issues within Local Authority administrative areas
Review levels and patterns of crime and related underlying factors
Establish and coordinate Local Policing Fora
Meet twice yearly (minimum)
Annual public meetings

Are JPCs monitored? 

Chief Superintendent, Community Relations & Community Policing is in charge of monitoring the JPC process. The functions of the National JPC Monitoring Office include:-

Coordinating and advising on policy development
Providing information and literature where appropriate
Facilitating meetings and seminars
Attending JPC meetings
Managing a database of contact details and information about JPC meetings
Monitoring and reviewing internet information
Liaising with Police Services and Agencies

What are the responsibilities of JPCs? 

All of the partners involved in JPCs have their own distinct perspective and inputs to offer. An Garda Síochána has adopted a proactive approach in developing and maintaining links with key stakeholders. It also provides Central Statistics Office and PULSE crime statistics and publishes a report. 

The JPC partners also have their own responsibilities in ensuring that society’s policing needs are effectively met and safe and secure communities maintained.  

How many JPCs are in operation? 

An Garda Síochána Act 2005 provides for the establishment of a JPC in each of the 114 Local Authority administrative areas. Due to the innovative nature of the JPC scheme and the number to be established, a pilot phase is in operation in 29 Local Authority areas.  

What matters cannot be discussed by JPCs? 

Matters relating to a specific criminal investigation or prosecution or matters relating to the security of the State.(Section 36 (4), An Garda Síochána Act 2005).  

JPCs may not discuss matters which may:-

Endanger security of individual(s)
Relate to an individual
Expose information received in confidence
Prejudice crime prevention or detection
What is the legal basis for JPCs?  

Section 35 of An Garda Síochána Act 2005 provides for the establishment of JPCs.  

The National JPC Monitoring Office can be contacted at:- 

National JPC Monitoring Office
Garda Bureau of Community Engagement 
Garda Headquarters
Harcourt Square
Dublin 2
D02 DH42 

Tel: +353 1 6663823/14