On Monday March 27th, Minister for Justice Simon Harris TD launched the Waterford Local Community Safety Partnership (WLCSP) Safety Plan 2023 – 2028.
The plan included a detailed socio-economic profile of the City and County, which was used to inform the development of objectives and actions to 2028.
Speaking at the launch Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. John O’Leary said, “I am proud that Waterford City and County is one of the chosen locations for the Local Community Safety Partnership pilot.
“Community safety, as we all know is more than just policing crime. It is about people enjoying a better quality of life and feeling safe within their communities. The role of the new Waterford Community Safety Partnership is to work together with various communities and to deliver on their individual localised needs.”
To help the Partnership better understand the Community Safety landscape in County Waterford, extensive public consultation was undertaken between July and October 2022.
Eleven thousand Waterford people were reached through a social media campaign, supported by online surveys, paper surveys, focus groups and a hugely popular series of on street ‘pop up’ consultation sessions in Cappoquin, Dungarvan, Kilmacthomas, Portlaw, the Greenway, Tramore, Dunmore East and the city centre.
Findings from the consultations found that the majority of participants felt safe in Waterford. This is consistent with official data and past surveys, and reports which all suggest Waterford is one of the safest and most desirable places to live and work in Ireland.
However, the results also found that Waterford is not exempt from the issues which give rise to community concerns and adverse perceptions by individuals about personal safety
Commenting on the Plan, Minister Simon Harris stressed that community safety is about people being and feeling safe in the heart of their own communities.
“I have to congratulate the WLCSP on developing a robust Safety Plan, with input from every corner of the County, that will through collaborative actions prevent and deter crime and harmful behaviours whilst addressing many broader contributary factors such as improved access to education, tackling substance misuse, and confronting illegal drug dealing and intimidation.
“This Safety Plan will ensure that communities in Waterford can thrive, flourish, and live the fullest lives possible” the Minister concluded.
The WLCSP concept is a new ‘whole of government’ initiative which brings together thirty members from statutory services, the voluntary and community sector, local councillors, and community members to work together to identify and tackle community safety issues locally. Waterford City and County is one of three areas being piloted in the Country, alongside Longford County and North Dublin Inner City.
Reflecting on the plan, Sean Aylward Chair of the WLCSP emphasised that the Waterford Safety Plan aims to address the social and infrastructural issues in the County on many fronts, through collaboration.
“Our actions, after listening to those who contributed will include, but are not limited to, requesting a review of the legal operating context for CCTV, enhanced multi-agency collaboration for tackling substance misuse and confronting illegal drug dealing and intimidation, tackling the related Anti-Social Behaviour and crime and supporting a review of local youth services to explore the increased provision of spaces for our teenagers to ‘hang out’.
“The Plan also intends to address the more hidden challenges in the community such as phishing, domestic violence and gender-based violence through initiatives being brought forward by our members.”
The eighty-page document has been produced primarily for consultation on line at https://www.waterfordcouncil.ie/departments/community-sport/community-safety.htm but was launched in hard copy and will be available in time in other languages.
All members of the Partnership are committed to the success of this collaborative pilot initiative and would like to thank all the people of Waterford, who contributed.