Written Answers. - Garda Deployment.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

17 Mr. O'Dowd asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress to date which has been made in increasing the level of Garda resources in the LDTF areas as promised in the national drugs strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14480/03]

The control and direction of the Garda Síochána, including the allocation of resources, is vested with the Garda Commissioner. The commissioner's allocation of Garda personnel is based on a variety of operational policing requirements which include those arising from the problem of drug misuse.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that a significant proportion of Garda manpower is allocated directly and indirectly to the drugs issue and that the current resources within the LDTF areas have remained consistent with the levels of 2001 and have been augmented by the operation of enhanced specialised units. The question of additional resources for the LDTF areas will also be considered in the context of the planned increase in Garda numbers overall.
The levels of Garda resources allocated within these areas continues to be monitored by local Garda management in conjunction with the Garda national drug strategy implementation group.
The fact is that all members of the Garda Síochána are charged with enforcing the law in relation to drugs misuse. Since the publication of the national drugs strategy, Garda resources generally in the fight against illicit drugs have increased, particularly with the creation of additional divisional drug units. These drugs units operate in divisions throughout the country with a primary focus on local drugs activities. In addition, the Garda national drugs unit co-ordinates large scale operations against drug dealing-trafficking and unit personnel either investigate such cases themselves or assist local investigation teams. Additional assistance is also available from other specialised Garda support units, such as the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Criminal Assets Bureau.