recognises that the levers and causes of crime lie far from the traditional reach of the criminal justice system;
Community Safety in the context of the work of Finglas Cabra Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force
Two community policing and safety forums are funded and supported by Finglas Cabra Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force, Cabra Community Policing Forum and Finglas Safety Forum. Each Forum is focused on problem solving involving the local community, and primarily An Garda Siochana, and Dublin City Council. All other local statutory and voluntary participate in the problem solving work of the forums also.
The concept of community safety, which underpins the work of Policing/Safety Forum’s supported by Finglas Cabra Local Drug and Alcohol Task force can be described as a holistic approach to crime prevention that transcends the competencies of specific professional groups and agencies and cuts across disciplinary boundaries.
In theory it:
acknowledges that there is no single agency solution to crime and disorder – it is multifaceted in both its causes and its effects;
recognises the need for social responses to crime which reflect the nature of the phenomenon itself and its multiple causes;
allows for a holistic approach to crime, community safety, and associated issues which is ‘problem-focused’ rather than ‘bureaucracy-premised’;
affords the potential coordination and pooling of knowledge, capacity, and resources.
(Morgan, 1991, in Maguire edits, 2007)
The importance of place
The Forums constructed by and supported through the Task Force process are essentially place-based responses to crime prevention in that they were set up for specific geographic areas. They act as a community governance space where the local community, Garda and LA officials can engage in a problem-solving process that maximises the potential of the physical and social environment of a place to support safety and general quality of life. This place-based approach is supported by research on crime prevention recommending that urban policing is more effective when targeting places where crime is concentrated rather than individuals who commit crime.
This form of targeted response “hinges on the ability of the authorities to differentiate drug-use from drug problems with the former tending to be more randomly distributed in the population while the later more inclined to be clustered (Cullen, 2003, P.20).”
Community development principles and methods
Local Policing Forums use a community development approach to guide their work. This approach is defined by widely recognised principles and methods. This approach was described in a policy report produced by the Irish Government.
The community development approach involves individual and collective empowerment, enabling and supporting members of a community (of place, identity or interest) to work collectively, to improve the quality of their lives, their community and their society. (Our Communities: A Framework Policy for Local and Community Development in Ireland (2015))
National Drug Strategy
The original basis for involvement by the Drug and Alcohol Task Force in the Finglas Community Safety Forum stems from the role designated to it in the then National Drug Strategy 2009 – 2016. The strategy contained an action aimed at setting up local policing fora in each of the 12 Local Drug Task Force areas in Ireland. The Dept. of Justice through the Gardaí were the lead agency for this action with the support of Drug and Alcohol Task Forces. This National Drug Strategy action predated the establishment of Joint Policing Committees.
Finglas Community Safety Forum
Finglas Community Safety Forum seeks to create safer neighbourhoods for all to live in and enjoy. It does this by supporting residents to identify and prioritise local issues relating to crime, estate management and social disorder and work in partnership with all stakeholders to resolve these issues.
Locally elected T.D.’s and Councillors are also in weekly contact with the Coordinator about issues of concern to their constituents.
The working week of the Community Safety Forum Coordinator also involves daily contact with residents on the phone and at street meetings. Issues arising from this contact can require the organisation of specific problem-solving meetings involving residents, Gardaí, Dublin City Council staff and other relevant agencies.
The CSF Coordinator attends meetings of Dublin North West Area Joint Policing Committee and provides it with a written report on the work of the Forum. The Coordinator seeks to assist with policy formulation at these meetings.
The CSF Coordinator is also a member of the Supply Reduction & Estate Management Sub- Committee of the Task Force. The Coordinator reports to the sub-committee on matters discussed at Safety Forum that have relevance to the Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force.
The CSF Coordinator also links in with the Garda Diversion Projects and other relevant services and networks as needed such as Dublin North West Area Partnership.
The main FSF structure for engagement with the community, Garda, City Council and elected representatives is its annual schedule of Forum meetings. These meetings are open to all local residents and are Chaired by the CSF Coordinator. The meetings are held in the following central locations:
- Finglas East
- Finglas West
- Finglas South
There are six meetings held in January to May period and 3 in September to November.
Cabra Community Policing Forum
The CSF meetings are advertised through the local press, on Facebook, and with the help of resident associations.
The CCPF area consists of 4 geographical areas Cabra East, Cabra West, Annamoe and Shandon/Phibsborough.
There are two public consultative meetings held for each area annually. These public meetings are advertised locally and every household in the relevant area will be informed by way of leaflet drop. Details of the next round of meetings will be available soon.
Cabra Community Policing Forum also holds bi monthly structured forum meetings which provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to discuss issues identified and prioritised at local consultative meetings; and work in partnership to resolve these.
Schedule of upcoming Cabra Community Policing Forum bi monthly structured meetings:
- Tuesday 26th March
- Tuesday 28th May
- Tuesday 9th July
- Tuesday 24th September
- Tuesday 26th November
All meetings take place in John Paul Park at 7.15pm.
For more information on the work of the community policing and safety forums supported by the LDATF by calling telephone: Finglas Safety Forum 086 4115783; Cabra Community Policing Forum 086 1743278.