Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Questions (283)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire


283. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the ratio of gardaí to the population in each Garda district. [16731/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of personnel and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution under review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities to ensure optimum use is made of the resources.

I am advised by the Commissioner that recent census data is currently being incorporated into the personnel allocation model. I understand that Census information received on a specific county format is amended by the Garda Síochána Analysis Service to reflect Garda Divisional boundaries. However, it should be noted that ratios such as the number of Garda per head of population are not an appropriate tool to use when considering the allocation of Garda resources as they fail to take account of, among other things, the fact that crime levels and types can vary significantly among communities of similar population size. The information requested by the Deputy in relation to the population to Garda and station ratio is not readily available in my Department as the recording of the population by area is a matter for the Central Statistics Office.

Since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, almost 2,600 Garda recruits have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide. The Government remains committed to the recruitment of additional Gardaí and accordingly has increased the budget for An Garda Síochána to €1.76 billion for 2019, which includes provision for the recruitment of up to 800 Gardaí this year. The Commissioner has now informed me that he plans to recruit a total of 600 trainee Gardaí in 2019 and 600 Garda Civilian Staff.  This Garda Staff recruitment will allow the Commissioner to redeploy a further 500 fully trained Gardaí from administrative duties to frontline policing in 2019.

I believe that the redeployment of this large number of experienced officers into the field, along with the new recruits, will be really beneficial in terms of protecting communities. This and on-going recruitment will clearly provide the Commissioner with the resources needed to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí to deliver a visible effective and responsive policing service to communities across all Garda Divisions.