Dáil Éireann - Volume 531 - 01 March, 2001
Written Answers. - Crime Prevention.
Mr. M. Higgins Mr. M. Higgins
28. Mr. M. Higgins asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his Department or the Garda Síochána are considering new initiatives to deal with the problem of joyriding which continues to cause serious problems and endanger the lives of many people, especially in urban areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6142/01]
Mr. O'Donoghue Mr. O'Donoghue
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. O'Donoghue): I am fully aware of the consequences of so-called joyriding for local communities. It is, however, a complex problem which, while requiring significant inputs from the criminal justice system, can only be tackled to lasting effect through a multi-faceted and multi-agency response involving the community and relevant statutory bodies.
In relation to legislative matters, I have been assured by the Garda authorities that the provisions of the Road Traffic Acts, 1961-93, are adequate to deal with situations where persons use or take possession of mechanically propelled vehicles without the consent of the owner. I am also informed by the Garda authorities that they continually monitor trends in unauthorised takings, with a view to identifying and targeting both persistent offenders and areas prone to such activities. Each Garda division has a traffic unit which, outside of peak traffic hours, targets incidents of joyriding. Local responses to joyriding have also been developed in recent years. For  example, the Probation and Welfare Service operates an auto crime diversion project in Cork city. In Dublin, “Operation Steering Wheel” was devised by the Garda Síochána to deal specifically with the problem of joyriding in the Coolock Garda sub-district. The operation is ongoing and comprises uniform, foot and mobile patrols targeting specific locations on a nightly basis. Moreover, in west Tallaght, a special resource unit comprising one sergeant and eight gardaí was established to specifically target incidents of joyriding.
In terms of preventative activities, I have significantly increased the number of Garda youth diversion projects, from 12 in 1997 to 51 at present, with a view to diverting young persons away from this and other forms of crime. I also understand that Garda juvenile liaison officers and community gardaí avail of every opportunity during the course of their work, particularly in implementing the schools programme, to educate young persons to the dangers posed by joyriding.
The Garda Síochána is also involved in both the south Dublin inter-agency working group on joyriding/anti-social activity and the Priorswood task force on joyriding. The latter group produced a highly professional research report which I officially launched last month and to which my Department is giving full consideration.
Dáil Éireann 531 Written Answers. Crime Prevention.