Gardai in County Wexford have launched a public consultation process as they prepare to develop a new policing plan for 2020.
Dozens of groups and organisations have been contacted and asked to give their opinion on policing issues in the county, as part of the plan which will be finalised by the end of this year.
The process was outlined to councillors and community members of Wexford County Council's Joint Policing Committee at a meeting on Monday by Inspector Jarlath Duffy of Wexford Garda Station.
He was accompanied by the new Chief Superintendent Denis Ferry who was welcomed to his first meeting by the Council CEO Tom Enright and the JPC chairman, Cllr. Michael Whelan.
Mr. Enright said the Council was here to help in any way it could. 'There has always been a good relationship between the Council and the Gardai and I hope that will continue', he said.
The Chief Superintendent said he was honoured to be engaging with the members of this 'important forum'.
Inspector Duffy said the development of a new policing plan in County Wexford from 2020 began a few weeks ago. He wrote to 30 external stakeholders asking for submissions by the deadline of September 20 and he encouraged members of the JPC to make submissions too.
One of the key pillars of An Garda Siochana's new policing strategy is to provide a victim-centred service focused on keeping people safe and protecting the most vulnerable while improving management and leadership roles within the force.
One of the aims is to be 'responsive to the needs of victims, local communities and the evolving nature of crime.
The main targets are a new approach to community policing; protecting people and keeping them safe on the roads; transforming the service; regarding people as the greatest resource; promoting human rights and ethical behaviour as the foundation on which to deliver policing, and maintaining State security.
'Based on these, a policing plan will be developed for next year and submissions can be made by members of the community to assist us to provide a better service for the people of Wexford', said Inspector Duffy.'
'We will listen to stakeholders about their policing needs - is there something we can do better from a community policing perspective', he said.
Inspector Duffy added that the strategy is geared to providing a more efficient and effective service, enhancing communication and increasing public confidence.
'If you have submissions to make to enhance the plan, we would like to receive them'.
All submissions will be reviewed by the end of October when agreed goals will be incorporated into a draft plan, with a final plan due to be sent to regional garda management at the end of November.
In response to a question from Fianna Fail councillor Pip Breen, Inspector Duffy said the plan will be specific to County Wexford but it is part of a national initiative.
There will also be district policing plans for New Ross, Enniscorthy, Gorey and Wexford.
Inspector Duffy said that as part of the public consultation process, An Garda Siochana in Wexford have agreed to present the plan to one group and that group is the Joint Policing Committee.