Written Answers. - Rural Policing.

John Bruton

Question:

167 Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Justice if she will publish the 1991 survey of rural policing on the basis of which the closing of several rural Garda stations was recommended. [181/94]

Enda Kenny

Question:

174 Mr. E. Kenny asked the Minister for Justice the changes, if any, she proposes to make in her review of the rural policing pilot plan; the proposals, if any, she has to enable Gardaí to patrol more locally in their areas; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2152/94]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 167 and 174 together.

In 1982 a pilot scheme of community policing in rural areas was introduced in Claremorris and Thomastown districts. On the basis of a detailed examination of its effectiveness, Garda management submitted a report on the matter to my Department in December 1990 and the scheme was extended to a further 12 Garda districts in September 1991. It is not the practice to publish such reports because they deal with Garda operational matters. I can say, however, that the report did not contain any recommendations to close Garda stations.

Consideration is being given at present to extending the community policing scheme for rural areas to additional districts and I am in consultation with the Garda Commissioner regarding this latest review of the scheme. I am anxious to ensure that there will be sufficient consultation with local interest groups before any decision is made to extend the scheme. I am, also, taking a number of steps to ensure that more gardaí are available for patrolling duties in the districts. These include: the recruitment of 1,457 gardaí during 1994 to 1997, so as to maintain the optimum level of the force at 11,000; the recruitment of over 200 civilians over the same period to release more gardaí from office work for policing duties on the streets; the implementation of an information technology plan for the force which, will also release a significant number of gardaí from administrative work for operational duties, including patrolling.