Gardaí are to introduce new text messaging schemes in Drogheda by the end of the year to enable people to send police reports of criminality and antisocial behaviour and allow garda units to issue alerts to the public.
It is one of a series of promised measures in a Government implementation plan on foot of a special report into the needs of Drogheda, published last March.
The report, Drogheda: Building a Bridge to a Better Future, was ordered by the Department of Justice after the murder and dismemberment of 17-year-old Keane Mulready-Woods in January 2020.
Written by former director of the Probation Service, Vivian Geiran, the report details the trauma of the murder on young people, the devastating impact of the drugs trade, gang violence, and drug-related intimidation, and wider economic and mental health neglect in the area.
Justice Minister Heather Humphreys published the Drogheda Implementation Plan in the town today. It outlines responses on 70 recommendations in the report.
One of the recommendations was a ‘See It, Say It’ scheme where locals could report issues, especially antisocial behaviour.
The 34-page implementation plan says there has been a “significant increase” in requests across the country for such systems, with text monitoring, text alerts, and apps being recommended.
The plan says Garda ICT [the force's information and communications systems section] and community policing have been working with their mobile provider, Eir, to develop two services — one, a text messaging service for people to contact gardaí and, second, a community alert system to allow community police to send out messages to the public.
The plan says gardaí will initially pilot the two schemes in the third quarter of this year and will roll out a new scheme similar to 'See it. Say it' as well as community alerts system in the Drogheda area in Q4 2021.
The Geiran report describes “as a matter of urgency” the implementation of an “intensive wraparound service” for vulnerable children and young people (and their families) involved in organised crime groups which would enable their “disengagement” from such crime networks.
The report also highlighted the resourcing of the two Garda youth diversion projects, Cable and Boyne.
The plan does not set out any specific "wraparound" measures, but does refer to the garda youth diversion projects and local juvenile liaison officers.
It refers to garda engagement with the Cable and Boyne projects “regarding any additional needs”, to be done by Q3 2021.
On calls in the report for garda efforts to target gang bosses and lieutenants, the implementation plan said that Drogheda Drugs Unit — comprising one sergeant and six gardaí — made 54 detections of drug supply for the year up to the end of May.
“This is on a par, if not above, the busiest districts in the country,” it said, adding it was part of Operation Stratus, which is targeting the two feuding gangs in the town and beyond.
On recommendations of a strengthening of community policing, the plan says the Drogheda Community Policing Unit comprises one sergeant and nine gardaí, and that they are backed up by a District Community Action Team of one sergeant and five gardaí.
• The full report is available as a PDF on this page of the justice.ie website.