On 28 September 2022 a member of the residents association committee attended the JPC (Joint Policing Committee) Fingal public meeting in Crowne Plaza hotel in Blanchardstown Centre.
The JPC was represented by a number of its committee members – Councillor Ian Carey (chairperson), Mary Daly (Director of Operations, Fingal County Council), Angela Rogers (Fingal PPN rep), Chief Superintendent Finbarr Murphy from Blanchardstown station. The JPC holds 4 meetings per year and representatives also attend Fingal PPN Linkage group meetings.
Chief Superintendent Murphy gave a brief list of the staffing levels in Blanchardstown station.
- 5 inspectors
- 23 sergeants (previously: 19 in 2019, 20 in 2022, 25 in 2021)
- 137 Gardai (previously: 122 in 2019, 150 in 2020, 140 in 2021)
- 2 Garda cars (used by 12 Gardai in shifts; primarily deal with 999 calls and arrests)
- Community Gardai section (numbers not provided)
- Detective unit (35 Gardai)
- Protective Unit (2 sergeants + 16 Gardai; deal with sexual assaults)
- Drugs unit (1 sergeant + 10 Gardai)
- Roads Policing (2 sergeants + 8 Gardai).
The key focus of the Gardai are:
- Quality of life
- Drugs & theft
- Community Engagement
- Domestic abuse
With respect to drug use personal use is often dealt with by Caution. The sale of drugs is targeted by undercover operations. 37 recent arrests were made but no jail time as the amounts involved were small.
The Gardai periodically offer property marking to the public, and host popup clinics where the public can easily engage with the Gardai.
They also mentioned the free Garda Property App where the public can record their property. It is available in the App Store and on Google Play.
To deal with Domestic abuse the Gardai liaise with Sonas. The approach has changed so that a single Garda is linked with the abused woman so that updates to the case are not lost. 50 Gardai in Blanchardstown have been trained for this.
Questions from the floor
The meeting then opened to questions from members of the public and political representatives. Apart from nitrous oxide abuse, none of the issues raised were about Riverwood or Carpenterstown.
Nitrous Oxide abuse
A few people mentioned litter from nitrous oxide canisters. They are often silver coloured metal, finger-sized cylinders and are be used in whipping cream dispensers. Some will have seen the canisters littered in Porterstown Park and other areas.
While nitrous oxide generally causes only short lasting effects, one person claimed that UK hospitals are seeing an increase in the effects of long term abuse (we have not found confirmation of this).
Drugs.ie has an information leaflet explaining nitrous oxide abuse (what, how taken, general risks, effects, suffocation risk and harm reduction advice). They also have information for concerned parents.
Agendas and minutes
The JPC Fingal meeting agendas and minutes are on the JPC page on fingal.ie.