Offaly TD blasts government reaction to rise in rural crime
Offaly-North Tipperary TD Carol Nolan has reacted to her recent question to the Minister for Justice and Equality regarding the allocation of funding to community based CCTV projects, describing the current scheme as “untenable."
Of the €1 million in funding allocated to the Scheme for 2017 only €120,000 has been paid out to four applicants, Nolan said.
Speaking earlier today from the constituency Deputy Nolan stated, “at a time when rural crime is escalating, rural policing is decreasing and an unprecedented level of crime is going unreported; it is disgraceful that funding allocated for community initiatives is sitting unspent in Minister Flanagan’s Department.
"The level of compliance required for community groups to undertake such installations is so high as to render entry to the Scheme untenable for new applicants," she claimed.
"CCTV is a most valuable intervention for both the prevention of crime, detection of criminals and as a source of evidence, however as the scheme is inaccessible to many community groups it limits its potential in rural areas."
The Community CCTV Scheme offers grants of up to €40,000 for community based installations however applicants must be legally incorporated; have the approval of the Joint Policing Committee; have prior approval of the Local Authority; attain Garda Vetting for each person who will have access to the system and get the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner.
Applicants are further required to attain an industry standard of technical compliance for the installation and maintenance of the equipment.
Deputy Nolan went on to say, “the closure of rural Garda Stations, reduction of the force in rural areas and city based criminals using motorways as a get-away network, has contributed to the escalation of rural crime, yet the substitute interventions offered by Government are beyond the capacity of civil society organisations to implement or manage."
"It is the responsibility of Government to protect citizens from crime and I will be questioning the Minister further on the limitations of the CCTV Scheme in an effort to identify ways of making the scheme more accessible to communities.”
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