Dáil Éireann - Volume 473 - 28 January, 1997
Written Answers. - Crime Prevention.
Mr. H. Byrne Mr. H. Byrne
35. Mr. H. Byrne asked the Minister for Justice the plans, if any, she has to protect newsagents from crime; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2152/97]
Minister for Justice (Mrs. Owen) Nora Owen
Minister for Justice (Mrs. Owen): I am informed by the Garda authorities that a number of measures are being taken to enhance security for newsagents. For example, Garda crime prevention officers throughout the State carry out comprehensive surveys on a regular basis at newsagents premises and other shops. This service is available to all and it is free of charge. The gardaí will hold a number of seminars on crime prevention with the Irish Retail Newsagents Association during the course of this year. Seventeen fraud seminars for business people were held by the gardaí throughout the State last year. The topics covered in these seminars include crime prevention techniques. There are 90 business watch schemes in operation in the country. The first such scheme was set up in Finglas in 1994. All retailers are welcome to join these schemes and members of an Garda Síochána liaise on a regular basis with the business people involved and keep them abreast of crime trends in their areas. The Garda national crime prevention unit is drafting a new booklet on security of shops and business premises. This new booklet will be a comprehensive guide to all business people and will assist them in conducting their own security survey. The booklet will offer advice on the primary features of good security practice.
I know that many newsagents are concerned about the incidence of attackers using syringes and, in this regard, the House will be aware that the Minister for Justice recently announced that she intends shortly to publish a Bill to amend the criminal law dealing with non-fatal offences against the person which will provide for a new offence aimed at people who use syringes to  injure or threaten others. While there is a wide range of charges that can be brought under the existing law against people who use syringes to threaten or injure others, the Minister, having reviewed the matter in the light of the increasing incidence of offences involving syringes, considers it right and proper to mark society's disapproval of and concern with this form of criminal conduct by creating a new and explicit offence in relation to syringes. The Bill is in the final stages of being drafted and will be published in the coming weeks.
Dáil Éireann 473 Written Answers. Crime Prevention.