Thursday, 2 May 2013

Questions (190)

Bernard Durkan


190. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which Garda strength here and access to adequate modern levels of technology, transport and forensics is available to gardaí; the extent to which this compares with international best practice notwithstanding the budgetary difficulties inherited from his predecessors; the action he plans to address these issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21069/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Garda authorities are continually looking at opportunities to employ new technologies to achieve their goals and to contribute to the services they provide. This is a policy that is designed to ensure that the Garda Síochána will be in a position to take advantage of proven up to date technological developments to meet the needs of an effective police force. As the Deputy will be aware, considerable progress has been made within the Garda force in the field of modern technological support. In addition to a world class computer system, PULSE, these include the full roll-out of the state of the art National Digital Radio System, the Automated Fingerprint Information System and Automated Number Plate Recognition.

In so far as Garda transport is concerned, an additional €3 million was made available towards the end of last year to the Force for the procurement of a further 171 vehicles. This brought total investment in the Garda fleet in 2012 to €4 million and resulted in a total of 213 new vehicles being procured during the year. I am informed by the Garda authorities that the roll out of the most recently purchased patrol vehicles has been completed. In addition to the investment provided in 2012, a specific allocation of €5 million has been provided for the purchase and fit-out of Garda transport in the current year. This represents a very considerable financial investment in Garda transport, particularly at a time when the level of funding available across the public sector is severely limited. It is a clear indication of my commitment to ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, the Garda Síochána are provided with sufficient resources to enable them to deliver an effective and efficient policing service. Regarding forensic services for the Garda Síochána, the scene of crime examiners, the Garda Technical Bureau and the Forensic Science Laboratory provide services in scenes of crime examinations and forensic science particularly in the area of drug analyses and DNA examinations.

I am determined, as Minister for Justice and Equality, that the resources of the Garda Síochána will be used in the best, most effective and efficient way possible. I believe that the primary Garda objective of combating crime will be continue to be achieved, and that, despite the pressure on the public finances, it will be possible for the Force to operate to the optimum benefit of our communities in a manner that will facilitate the prevention and detection of offences.