Community policing report findings ‘must be put into action’

The publication of a report from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality on community policing and rural crime has been welcomed by the president of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

Patrick Kent welcomed the report by saying: “The ICSA wants to see the recommendations in this report put into action.”

Kent continued: “Community policing is important. In 2017, the ICSA, in conjunction with Waterford Institute of Technology, produced a series of reports on agricultural crime which showed that 66% of farmers who responded had been the victims of some sort of crime.

“However, some 45% of agricultural crime was not reported to the Gardaí.

Rural crime is a significant problem in rural Ireland and it is impacting very much on communities, particularly those living in isolated areas.

Kent said that this is “exacerbated” by the loss of rural outlets such as pubs, post offices and Garda stations.

“The quality of life for people in such rural areas is declining, and this is a major factor in mental health issues for people who feel isolated, lonely and afraid in their own homes and communities.”

Kent stressed that the ICSA strongly favours a “much more visible Garda presence in rural areas” and said the community model of policing, which involves collaboration between the Gardaí and community representatives, is vital.

We want to see closer links so that Gardaí are known to their communities.

Kent reiterated the need to make it easier for communities to invest in CCTV cameras and to reduce the bureaucracy around funding for them.

Concluding, the ICSA president said: “The joint committee report will only be worthwhile if there is full cross-party commitment to implementing its findings.”