There is a general sense in the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands that the security situation is deteriorating and rural crime is widespread and on the increase
Under the auspices of Wicklow County Council and An Gárda Siochána, the Wicklow Joint Policing Committee was established with a remit to provide a forum where the local authority and the senior Garda officer responsible for the area can meet with local community representatives and others to consult, discuss and make recommendations on matters affecting policing of the area and in particular to keep under review the levels and patterns of crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour occurring and the factors underlying and contributing to it.
Membership of the committee consists of the Chief Superintendent, senior members of the Gardaí, the County Manager, public representatives and representatives from the voluntary community sector including Wicklow Uplands Council. Sean Malone, a local farmer from Roundwood represents the Council on the JPC. The committee meets four times a year to report on crime affecting the area and to work together to promote public awareness. There are an additional four public meetings per annum where local communities have an opportunity to make their views known and ask questions of the members of the committee.
There is a general sense in the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands that the security situation is deteriorating and rural crime is widespread and on the increase. Local people, especially isolated farmers, are feeling increasingly vulnerable and fearful.
Observable elements of this situation include:
- Criminal activity that emanates locally and from metropolitan Dublin
- Car crime, including “joy” riding, abandoned vehicles, speeding, rat-running etc.
- Dumping and fly-tipping
- Theft of farm property and equipment
- ‘Staking out’, robberies and personal attacks on isolated farms
- Inadequate response time to 999/911 calls
- Vandalism and petty crime
Policing Issues in the Uplands
The impression is widespread that current police resources are inadequate in that they are primarily devoted to dealing with urban crime at the expense of rural dwellers. It is also perceived that Gardaí are unable to respond quickly enough to in-coming crime in rural areas. Additionally policing is resourced on the basis of resident population statistics which ignore the extra pressures placed on rural areas by intense tourist activity. When visitors are victims of crime this has a detrimental effect on Ireland’s good name and tourism activity which can be compounded by inadequate police responses.
Wicklow Uplands Council is specifically interested in working with the JPC on the following issues:
- Preventing home and car break ins by minimising risk, encouraging vigilance and reporting of suspicious behaviour.
- Dog control is a growing issue which can cause serious losses to farmers and threaten public safety. There has recently been a significant increase in dog incidents being reported by uplands farmers and recreational users.
- Management of car parking in the Wicklow Uplands. There is an increasing demand for supervised car parks in the Uplands.
- Providing a co-ordinated response to Winter weather events.