4 May 2002
Appointment of Ombudsman would build trust
Also speaking at the lauch of the Sinn Fein proposals on Justice and the Community Dublin West Candidate Mary Lou McDonald said that OEthe establishment of a Garda Omudsman was crucial in building greater trust between the force and the community it serves'.
Ms Mc Donald said:
``Sinn Fein firmly believe that Communities are central to dealing with crime and anti-social behaviour. These are complex issues and their solution lies with co-ordinating the work of Gardaí and local communities. It involves identifying areas of need and directing resources into these areas.
``This party will continue to work to foster greater co-operation between An Gardaí Siochána and the communities we represent. There is no alternative to such an approach.
``There is direct correlation between social disadvantage and certain forms of anti-social behaviour. However, the vast majority of people in disadvantaged areas are decent, hard working people who want a civic accountable policing service. recognising this Sinn Fein proposes:
- Working with communities to identify their needs and provide the resources required to meet their needs.
- The institution of restorative justice schemes which give the victim, offender and the community a say in the treatment of offenders.
- The formation of Community Policing Boards with representation from An Garda Siochána and from the communities they serve to formulate policies suited to both.
``It is also imperative that there is transparency and trust between the Gardaí and local communities. In this regard Sinn Fein proposes:
- The establishment of a Garda Ombudsman, independent of the Gardaí with the powers to initiate independent investigations.
- Mandatory use of video taping of interviews with suspects.
- Appointments to senior Gardaí positions to be dealt with by an independent board and not by political appointment.
- Human Rights training for all Gardaí.
``We are conscious that any crime or justice policy must have the needs of victims central to its implementation. Our manifesto calls for:
- The creation of a victim support unit working within the Department of Justice to co-ordinate the provision of services to victims of crime.
- For serious crimes involving violence, and especially in sexual assault cases, victims should be entitled to legal representation at a trial.
``This party is committed to building a Peaceful society. Our manifesto clearly outlines the basic measures that are required to start to make that goal a reality.''ENDS
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