Urgent review of rural crime prevention structures along the border needed - report

Photo: Garry O'Neill
Photo: Garry O'Neill
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The imminent departure of the UK from the EU creates an urgent need for a full review of rural crime prevention structures along the border, the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality finds in a report published today.

It said cross-border crime is already a serious concern, and the Committee believes there is a need for even greater interagency, cross-border co-operation between the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; between customs on both sides of the border; and between An Garda Síochána and the PSNI.

The report also found that Rural Ireland needs additional policing with better resourcing designed to reduce crime and raise confidence in An Garda Síochána.

The Report on Community Policing and Rural Crime makes 20 recommendations.

It summarises the Committee’s findings from its meetings with key stakeholders, including police commanders from both sides of the border, international and local policing reform advocates, and community and farming leaders from across Ireland.

The report’s recommendations to reduce rural crime include boosting rural patrolling by  Gardai and hold regular meetings in community centres to counteract social isolation in communities where Garda stations have closed.

Communities should install CCTV monitoring with the assistance of more advance funding and streamlined grant applications. Legislation could clarify the role of State agencies in oversight of CCTV schemes and data management.

It also recommended that Gardaí should use social media more effectively to drive engagement with isolated communities.

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