Written Answers. - Garda Administrative Duties.

Enda Kenny

Question:

86 Mr. E. Kenny asked the Minister for Justice if she will have more civilians employed by her Department to allow gardaí more time to deal with crime and relieve them from administrative work and traffic duties such as the checking of car tax and insurance and also to free them from attending Court for prosecuting minor misdemeanours. [2048/94]

There are currently 682 administrative civilian staff working with the Garda Síochána. The number of civilians in the force has almost doubled since 1989, releasing gardaí from administrative duties to perform outdoor operational tasks.

Among the measures included in my law and order package, I announced plans to recruit a further 200 civilian staff to the Garda Síochána between now and the end of 1997. These civilians will release more gardaí from administrative duties to perform operational duties, including the detection of crime.
In addition, the implementation of the information technology plan for the Garda Síochána, which also forms part of my law and order package, should result in the release of a significant number of gardaí for operational work.
As regards the enforcement of less serious offences such as parking violations, this is primarily carried out by traffic wardens. There are currently 178 traffic wardens employed by the Garda Síochána. As regards the more serious parking offences, a small number of gardaí are involved in the towing away of illegally parked vehicles.
The position regarding more serious offences under the Road Traffic Acts, including failure to comply with compulsory insurance provisions, is that all prosecutions must be taken in the name of the DPP and the prosecuting garda must attend court to give evidence in support of any charge.
In the context of ensuring the most effective deployment of Garda resources I have a Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill under preparation in my Department at present. The Bill will contain a series of measures designed to reduce significantly the amount of time which the gardaí have to spend on court appearances — through, for example, allowing the giving of certain evidence by certificate.