More resources needed to tackle crime and social issues in town and cities

In our submission to the Divisional Policing Plan 2023, we highlight current issues being experienced by businesses and expresses the need for a more visible uniformed police presence in towns and cities coupled with increased investment in social services

View the full submission here

Limerick Chamber, the largest business representative body in the Mid-West, has called for increased uniformed policing in the city centre coupled with an all-agency approach from social services

Dee Ryan, CEO of Limerick Chamber said:

Our members are appreciative of the good work undertaken by the Gardaí. However, it is our view that there is a shortage of on street, uniformed, visible policing in our city and county towns and we are highlighting the need for this kind of community policing in our submission.

Business owners believe that on-foot patrolling of urban centres is an effective deterrent to anti-social behaviour and crime and also contributes positively to the sense of security and order for residents and visitors to town centres. Following engagement with Garda management last year members reported a benefit from increases in foot-patrolling however, we need these additional resources to be allocated on a permanent and not a project basis. We must maintain this momentum by adequately supporting the Gardaí.

Since the RTÉ Prime Time report on Dublin City Centre, there thankfully has been a more discussion taking place on how we make Irish cities and towns more attractive and safer for business, residents and visitors.

In the case of Limerick, and this is something Limerick Chamber highlighted to elected representatives before Christmas, there are circa 14 Gardaí currently assigned to security duties in the Courthouse on Mulgrave Street. This allocation of Gardaí has an impact on resources available for frontline and other policing duties and is contrary to the spirit of the 2018 ‘Future of Policing’ report. Indeed, in Dublin many similar types of courthouse security duties are performed by private security firms. Limerick Chamber is calling for the courthouse security to be resourced differently so that those Gardaí could be redeployed to other activities within the Limerick division and crucially for our members so that more resources can be allocated to on street policing on a permanent basis.

Businesses make a significant financial investment in areas, from renovating shops to the upkeep of their storefronts and employment – this must be protected and encouraged, and businesses need to see a decrease in criminal and anti-social behaviour. Ensuring safety of businesses, employees, residents and visitors plays a vital role in revitalising towns and cities.

We acknowledge that the root causes of criminal and anti-social behaviour can be complex and require a supportive multi-agency approach. We commend the work being done by agencies such as Tusla, addiction support and mental health support organisations. There needs to be an all-agency approach to managing this issue with an appropriate increase in allocation of funding for social services.

View the full submission here

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