To put this in context, as the Commissioner said, our mission statement sets out a strategy for the next three years from 2019 to 2021 and the four key pillars are keeping people safe, protecting communities, our national security and transforming the organisation. It is in that context that our operating model comes into play for the work we will do over the next three years to transform An Garda Síochána so that we can fulfil our mission of keeping people safe in their homes and communities.
Our policing plan sets out what we intend to do this year in delivering that service across the country. The Policing Authority has commented favourably on our progress to date in delivering all of the goals in the areas we set out. That is a good bill of health for 2019. The operating model involves improving our services, structures and processes with the goal of delivering a better service to the community and keeping people safe in their homes and communities. That means enhancing our community policing and the emphasis on what we are doing in the operating model is ensuring that we have more gardaí available for front-line policing across the organisation so that people feel safe in their homes and communities, with particular emphasis on the most vulnerable people in society. An example of that is setting up our protective services units that we will have in each division in the country.
It is important that we as an organisation adapt to the changing society. Crime and its nature are changing and the demography of communities is changing we have to be able to adapt to that policing environment. Our structures have not changed for almost the past hundred years since the organisation was set up. Given the investment that is taking place in An Garda Síochána, this is an appropriate time for us to examine our structures and to enhance and improve the service and how we deliver it.
The operating model is part of the 'Policing Service for the Future' report, which was recently commissioned by Ms Kathleen O'Toole and her committee, following extensive consultation around the country.
There has been extensive consultation with the public, her colleagues, and stakeholders in terms of politicians and the public. That wide consultation will go a long way towards informing us about how we deliver the new operating model.
The operating model will deliver what we set out in our strategy in respect of enhancing community policing, protecting the public in terms of being at home or in their communities, and all this must be done within the human rights context. We want to make sure that our people are our greatest asset. They want to help us to transform the organisation and deliver a policing service, which we require for the public.
The next four slides put the operating model into context. We, in the Garda Síochána, are creating larger divisions so we can do more with our services. Inevitably, we want to deliver more and have more gardaí on the front line to deliver bespoke services to local communities. To do that, we need to enhance our national services and regional supports, and all of this is heading towards improving and providing a better performance across the organisation.
What will larger divisions mean? We are moving to larger divisions of between 600 and 800 personnel. That will mean divisional officers will have the capacity to deliver a wider range of policing services across the organisation, be that dealing with economic crime or dealing with vulnerable people in terms of the protective services unit. We are giving the divisions the capacity to deliver a local bespoke service that meets the needs of local communities, which is one of the major driving forces behind the local policing model.
We want to ensure that we have a sufficient number of gardaí to meet the demands of the local policing services. That is why we are moving from our district-based model, which was spread across 96 districts, to a new divisional model. Effectively, the number will decrease from 128 administrative units to 19 and, therefore, we will have more operational resources to deploy to front-line policing. Divisional officers, with larger numbers, will be able to provide a wider range of skills whether that is dealing with economic crime and cybercrime or dealing with protective services units. Divisional officers will have the autonomy to decide which policing service will be delivered locally provided they operate within our corporate framework thus ensuring there is consistency in how we deliver our services across the organisation.
There will be more front-line gardaí, which I will show on my next slide. I reiterate that we are recruiting more gardaí and garda staff, which will allows to redeploy more front-line gardaí, The fact that we have reduced our administrative hubs has, in the four areas where we are piloting this policing model, released more than 50 gardaí from administrative posts back to front-line policing. That is an example of how the operating model can change the Garda presence and service we provide to the public. Indeed, when one passes through the airports now, one will see that the gardaí have been released from that duty and the immigration service mans the booths at the airports.
Garda staff work in our control rooms. So far this year, 33 gardaí have been released to undertake front-line policing as a result of putting Garda staff into control rooms and we have another 31 gardaí lined for the end of the year. That means an initial 64 gardaí are now delivering front-line policing to communities. Our challenge is to make sure that when we release gardaí from operations to undertake front-line policing that it is the type of service local communities need to match the demands of the local areas in which they work. We are empowering the chief superintendents to say, "We will give you more gardaí and we will give more autonomy but it is up to your to match that to the demands of the local service". One can see from the figures on the slide that since 2017 we have brought more than 2,000 new members into the force. An additional 1,000 staff are ready. We have seen a reallocation because 480 Garda staff or members have been released to undertake front-line operational duties.
In the next part of the slide, it can be seen that an additional 1,500 Garda members will be brought into the Garda college and more than 1,200 Garda staff over the next two years, which will result in more than 1,000 members being released to undertake front-line policing. This is, again, being done so that divisional officers can give a bespoke policing service to local communities and fulfil our mission to keep people safe in their local communities.
Enhancing the powers of local divisional officers and giving them more autonomy to deal with a greater range of services will allow our national services to focus on dealing with more complex and sensitive cases, which are high profile at times, whether that is international human trafficking or the work that is being done by the Garda drugs and organised crime unit. In the past few days, some great work has been done by the unit to bring people before the courts and taking assets from people who have bee involved in crime.
Divisions will be the focus of how we deliver our service across the country, and by enabling our local divisional officers and divisions to do more locally with more services and resources then, at national level, we can concentrate on using our elite units to focus on delivering on the more complex, sensitive and high-profile crimes. One will be able to see that across the organisation. For example, we have more cybercrime facilities at local level because every criminal has a phone and we know that nowadays that is a central aspect in how people commit crimes and economic crimes. We need to have the capabilities both nationally and locally to deal with that challenge.
We can provide armed support units across the entire country. Indeed, we are expanding the service in the Border areas.
We have a new investigation management system so that our members can investigate crimes. They can upload to the system all of the work that they have done so their managers can readily see all of the work that is being done. The new system enables us to do our work faster and quicker.
I have given some examples of what we can do and provide. Ultimately, this is about how we can improve our performance across the organisation. As one can see from the slide, we are putting supports in place across the organisation. Since 2018, there have been an additional 172 inspectors and 422 sergeants to support our people who deliver front-line policing. At national level, we will appoint a deputy commissioner to lead our transformation programme and ensure that we improve our performance across the organisation both nationally and local levels. A superintendent will lead our performance and accountability in delivering the change programme across the organisation. From top to bottom, people will see greater accountability and a better focus on how we deliver services.
The next slide depicts the changes we can already see. We have begun the restructuring programme and reduced the number of regions from six to four. We have moved to streamline and flatten the organisation both at regional and divisional levels. At regional level, we have retained the strategic parts of the organisation, in terms of the Border region and the north west, and merged them to make one unit. The Dublin metropolitan region, DMR, is basically staying as it is. The eastern region encompasses all of Leinster and the area around the DMR, and that will be the new eastern region. The new southern region encompasses the existing region plus the Tipperary and Clare divisions. The structural changes have taken place at regional level.
The next slide shows the changes that are taking place at national level. We have reduced the number of divisions from 26 to 19. I have outlined the changes that are taking place in streamlining and enabling the divisional officers who will lead the new divisions that comprise between 600 and 800 personnel. The divisional officers, therefore, will have a larger number of personnel who are capable of delivering a wider range of services across the entire organisation.
What will we see next? Changes have taken place in the regions through restructuring. We have demonstrated our commitment to moving to 19 new divisions. Over the next two to three years, one can see from the table the number of additional gardaí who will provide front-line policing, and the increased capabilities that we will have at local level to deliver a range of policing services locally. Ultimately, our model is about changing how we police and moving away from the district model to the new divisional model. The goal of the organisation, be it at regional or national level, is to support the bespoke delivery of front-line policing services with the additional resources that the commissioner has received as part of the Commission for the Future of Policing in Ireland. I have given a brief overview of the operating model and we will now take questions.