As a result of six Garda Youth Diversion Projects being incorporated into one single Kerry Divisional Model, the ‘Kerry Empowering Youth’ KEY Service was launched recently at the Royal Academy, Dublin. This involved An Garda Siochana, the Juvenile Liaison Officers, Kerry Community Police, Kerry Diocesan Youth Service and the Youth Justice Workers who are all working collaboratively to provide this service.
The gardaí, in partnership with Community Based Organisations and the Irish Youth Justice Service delivers 100 Garda Youth Diversion Projects throughout the state.
Garda Youth Diversion Projects reflect An Garda Síochána’s corporate commitment to a multi-agency partnership approach in tackling youth crime and anti-social behaviour at community level. These projects are funded by the Irish Youth Justice Service. The projects are community based, multi-agency youth crime prevention initiatives which primarily seek to divert young people who have been involved in anti-social and/or criminal behavior by providing suitable activities to facilitate personal development, promote civic responsibility and improve long-term employability prospects.
The projects may also work with young people who are significantly at risk of becoming involved in anti-social and/or criminal behavior. By doing so, the projects contribute to improving the quality of life within communities and enhancing Garda/community relations. The role of the community and other locally based agencies as partners is vital in the implementation and delivery of the projects. These GYDPs and the 123 Juvenile Liaison Officers in the 26 counties of Ireland, can be a source of assistance and help to parents, community leaders and young people who may want to discuss issues concerning children or youth related matters.
In June 2013, An Garda Síochána in Kerry, in partnership with the Irish Youth Justice Service and working closely with the Kerry Diocesan Youth Services (KDYS) commenced a pilot to develop a cluster service delivery type programme whereby original boundaries of the six existing projects in the Kerry division were removed. Prior to this all six projects were located in Tralee and north Co Kerry. This pilot enabled the Garda Youth Diversion Projects to deliver a service based on need, to all young people referred to GYDPs across the entire Kerry Division regardless of location.
The pilot was pursed in the context of an examination of the needs of An Garda Síochána in tackling youth crime in the Kerry Division. In recent years, the availability of national youth crime statistics has dramatically improved with development in the Garda PULSE computer system and increased analytical capability through the Garda Síochána Analysis Service. The detailed statistics has enabled mapping of youth crime hotspots and youth crime juvenile referralinformation. This permits planning of resource allocations on a local and nationwide basis to better target need and consequently, more effective Garda
youth diversion service delivery.
The objective of the pilot programme was to provide a service to the entire Kerry Division and reconfigure how An Garda Síochána in Kerry, Irish Youth Justice Service and Kerry Diocesan Youth Service would meet the needs of young people requiring intervention and support. A secondary objective was to achieve this reconfiguration without any additional resources or cost to the existing budget.
Present at the launch were Minister Frances Fitzgerald, Assistant Commissioner Jack Nolan, Chief Superintendent Ann-Marie McMahon (Community Relations), Chief Superintendent Pat Sullivan (Kerry Division), Inspector Tony Sugrue (Kerry Division), Rose O’Connor (KDYS), Caroline Duane (KDYS), Sergeants Ita Driscoll, Andy Tuite and Noeleen McKenna from the Garda National Diversion Office.