Agenda and minutes

Joint Policing Committee
Monday, 5th October, 2020 11.00 am

Venue: via Zoom

Contact: Kieran Brett  Meeting Administrator

Items
No. Item

1.

To approve the Minutes of the JPC meeting of 3rd February 2020

Minutes:

Proposed by Cllr Finola Armstrong McGuire, seconded by Cllr Seam McGowan and UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED:

“That the Minutes of the Joint Policing Committee Meeting of 3rd February 2020 be adopted”.

2.

Correspondence

Minutes:

Members noted the following items:

·         Correspondence from Chief Superintendent Aidan Glacken regarding the allocation of new Superintendent to Sligo/Leitrim Garda Division.

·         Correspondence from Helen Hall, Chief Executive Policing Authority regarding engagement with Joint Policing Committees on priorities for policing.

 

Cllr Enda McGloin welcomed Superintendent Gaynor and congratulated her on her appointment to Carrick on Shannon.

 

Chief Superintendent Aidan Glacken informed the meeting that Superintendent Amanda Gaynor has been reassigned to Sligo and will be replaced in Leitrim by Superintendent Padraig Jones in the coming weeks. He thanked Superintendent Gaynor for her work in Leitrim and wished her well on her transfer to Sligo.

He further expressed his appreciation for the work that has been done by the members of the Local Authority, other agencies, and businesses in Leitrim during the Covid 19 restrictions.

 

Superintendent Gaynor thanked the meeting for the warm welcome she received in Leitrim and advised she is always available to help in relation to policing matters if required.

 

In reference to the recent questionnaire that was issued by the Policing Authority, Janice Raine Conick said she found the questionnaire to be a very thought provoking and a useful exercise. She urged anyone who hadn’t yet completed it to do so.

3.

Update from Public Meeting held 4th March 2020

Minutes:

Ms Mary Quinn provided an update on the Annual Public Meeting that was held in the Bush Hotel on 4th March 2020. The theme of the meeting was “Assisting Families and Communities in Dealing with the Misuse of Drugs”. A number of speakers delivered presentations on the night and questions were answered on the topics as put forward by members of the pubic in attendance at the meeting.

4.

To consider the Leitrim Joint Policing Committee Draft Strategy 2021-2026

Minutes:

Ms Mary Quinn advised that the Leitrim Joint Policing Draft Strategy 2021-2026 has been circulated to members. No comments or observations have been received from any of the members of the JPC. It was agreed that the Strategy progress to public consultation.

5.

Receive update on new An Garda Siochana policing structures pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Minutes:

Chief Superintendent Aidan Glacken gave a presentation on the new Garda Siochana policing structures. He outlined the new operating model, including the changes to the structure of the service and how this will impact this region. 

 

He advised that the Garda Commissioner is due to attend the next JPC in November and it is expected that the Commissioner will elaborate further on this model at that time.

 

This presentation can be found as Appendix Minute Item 5 to the Minutes of this meeting in the Minute Book.

 

Cllr Padraig Fallon welcomed the developments and advised that everyone wants to see more Gardai in our communities. He enquired if a commitment could be given that Leitrim will retain its Superintendent as this is very important for Leitrim.

 

Cllr Justin Warnock extended good wishes to former Superintendent Kevin English on his retirement. He enquired if Kinlough would benefit from any increase in garda resources at a local level.

 

Cllr Sean McGowan wished Superintendent Amanda Gaynor well in her new post in Sligo and wished former Superintendent Kevin English well on his retirement. Cllr McGowan enquired why the new headquarters for the region will be in Letterkenny and added in his opinion Sligo would have been a better choice as a more central location.

 

Ms Janice Raine Conick queried what the increase Garda presence will mean for communities.

 

Chief Superintendent Glacken responded to the questions as follows:

·         In conjunction with his counterpart in Donegal he has made a recommendation to the Commissioner for an increased number of community engagement Superintendents and this includes a designated Superintendent for Co. Leitrim. He is awaiting a decision from the Commissioner on this matter.

·         There is a good partnership between Kinlough and Donegal Division and he does not envisage any change in current services.

·         The strategic decision to place the Head Quarters of the division in Letterkenny was made by the Commissioner. 

·         The focus of the Gardai as a community based organisation is to work hand in hand with the local community. Leitrim has seen the establishment of a community engagement functions specifically for the county, focusing on the elderly and the vulnerable. Events such as the property marking scheme has assisted in the recovery of stolen items and prevents theft in the first instance. The community text alert scheme is under review at the moment.

6.

To receive a report from An Garda Siochána

Minutes:

Superintendent Amanda Gaynor gave a presentation on crime activity and statistics in Co. Leitrim. This outlined the figures for 2020 year to date compared to 2019 for public order incidents, assaults, burglaries, criminal damage, theft from shops and road safety. She informed the meeting of the work that was carried out in relation to community engagement and the significant drug seizures that have taken place this year.

 

Cllr Padraig Fallon enquired if there is a pattern to the type of drugs that are seized in Co. Leitrim. Regarding sexual assault statistics, he queried if there has been an increase in these figures.

 

Cllr Justin Warnock enquired if there was an increase in domestic violence during the recent COVID-19 lockdown? Cllr Warnock thanked the Superintendent, Inspector Pat Harney and the Gardai in Kinlough for the work they did in the community during the lockdown.

 

Superintendent Gaynor responded as follows:

·         Cannabis and cocaine are the main drugs that area prevalent in the district.

·         The figures for sexual offenses year to date are down slightly on the 2019 figures.

·         The has been a small increase in domestic violence incidents this year, however there has been a large effort by the Gardai to check in on vulnerable people during the lockdown, which may have prevented a significant rise in figures.

7.

To consider Questions submitted by JPC Members

7a

Question from Councillor Sean McDermott:

In the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit,what implications will this have for the Gardai along the Border?

Minutes:

As Councillor McDermott and Councillor Finola Armstrong McGuire’s questions both relate to Brexit it was agreed to take both question together.

 

Question from Councillor Seam McDermott:

In the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, what implications will this have for the Gardaí along the border?

 

Question from Councillor Finola Armstrong McGuire:

What contingency plans are in place for customs inspections in the event of a no deal Brexit. Items being imported for resale will be delayed by lack of plans and outline of these plans should be shared with retailers.

 

Superintendent Aidan Glacken advised there is still uncertainty surrounding Brexit. The Gardaí have been engaging with their policing partners in Northern Ireland to prepare for both a soft or a hard Brexit. As the situation is fluid, there are contingency plans in place regarding personnel.  The border will have to be policed as it is an international trade, customs, and immigration border. There are other agencies who have responsibility in terms of policing of those elements. It will be the role of the Gardaí to support those agencies to perform their duties.

 

Cllr Armstrong McGuire advised from a retailer’s viewpoint, currently there is ease of movement for imports and she expressed her concerns that there will be delays in imports post Brexit and these delays will negatively affect business.

 

Superintendent Aidan Glacken said there will be additional pressures placed on Customs and Revenue, but these agencies have a good working relationship with the Gardai.

7b

Question from Councillor Finola Armstrong McGuire:

What is the procedure currently in patrolling West of Ireland coastline and how many officers from Garda Division and Customs and Excise are working in the region covering coastline moorings.

Minutes:

What is the procedure currently in patrolling the West of Ireland coastline and how many officers from Garda Division and Customs and Excise are working in the region covering coastline moorings?

 

There is a significant coastline in the Sligo/Leitrim Garda District which is patrolled by a specific Garda Water Unit. This Unit are in demand, but they are an available resource to the Sligo/Leitrim division as needed. They predominately deal with fisheries, thefts and any type of anti-social behaviours on the water.  Where a significant event is taking place, they can be called upon to patrol the waterways as necessary. A costal watch strategy is being drawn up at present.

8.

Agree date and time of next meeting

Minutes:

It was agreed the next meeting will take place on Monday 30th November 2020 at 11am.