Safe communities and protecting youth from crime are key policing strategies - JPC Report

The Meath Joint Policing Committee organised school visits during the last year in order to liaise with youth groups to help deter anti-social behaviour and to promote awareness in relation to drug misuse, according to the annual report of the JPC to Meath Co Council.

The Co Meath JPC has a steering committee comprising two councillors, Francis Deane (chairperson) and Maria Murphy (vice-chairperson), Garda Chief Superintendent John Dollard, and council officials Barry Lynch and Fiona Fallon.

The focus of the JPC’s work is “strategic” rather than “operational” and the group adopted a strategic work plan 2021-2026 in February last year.

In the plan strategic priorities have been identified – communication and promotion of the role of the JPC; promotion of safe communities in Meath particularly in rural areas; crime prevention; road safety; public safety and protecting and engaging youth. The JPC held five meetings in Navan and Ratoath during the year.

In a presentation of crime statistics for 2022 five items topped the list in terms of frequency – Property crime 2,144 (1,520 in 2021); Theft from shops 617 (564 in 2021); Crime against the person 579 (506 in 2021); Theft of other property 440 (591 in 2021); Burglary (not aggravated) 379 (313 in 2021). Road fatalities numbers during 2022 – seven (13 in 2021). Drug possessions number 267 (382 in 2021); drug for sale or supply 68 (104 in 2021).

The Public Order and Anti-social Behaviour Sub-Committee chaired by Cllr Eddie Fennessy has set out actions under the strategic plan including the extension of CCTV in Navan; reports of anti-social behaviour among council tenants; and youth diversion programmes for the county.

The Community Safety and Crime Prevention Sub-Committee is pursuing the introduction of the crime ambassador programme for Meath; developing and supporting joint programmes and activities between older people and the young generation to encourage cross-generational support. A programme of crime prevention advisory clinics took place in 2022.

A wide list of issues were raised at a public meeting in the Venue Theatre in Ratoath last October. This included anti-social behaviour in Navan town centre; the need for visible policing in Navan and Ratoath to combat increasing anti-social behaviour; Garda numbers assigned to each district in Meath’ statistics in relation to policing at Dunboyne Garda station; speeding and aggressive driving on the Dunboyne - Maynooth road and other locations; anti-social behaviour, drug taking and intimidation around Ratoath; lighting and CCTV in Ratoath village; the refurbishment of Laytown Garda Station; the Text Alert Scheme; Garda Youth Diversion Programme in Meath.