Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (324)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

324. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda attached to the human trafficking investigation and co-ordination unit in each year since 2014, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44784/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner has responsibility for managing An Garda Síochána and for the allocation of Garda resources, in light of identified operational demands. This includes responsibility for personnel matters and the distribution of personnel across the various Garda Divisions. As Minister, I have no direct role in the matter. I am assured, however, that Garda management keeps this distribution under review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities to ensure optimum use is made of resources.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the Human Trafficking Investigation and Coordination Unit (HTICU) forms part of the Garda National Protective Services Bureau (GNPSB) and falls under the remit of Assistant Commissioner, Special Crime Operations, Harcourt Square, Dublin 2.

I am further informed that the unit is staffed by Garda members of various ranks, up to Detective Superintendent, as well as Garda staff. I am informed that the following table, provided to me by the Garda authorities, sets out the staffing levels of the Unit since 2014 and as at 5 November.

YEAR

TOTAL

Garda Members

Garda Staff

2014

11

9

2

2015

11

9

2

2016

9

7

2

2017

15

13

2

2018

14

12

2

2019

13

11

2

More generally, the Deputy may wish to be aware of training in this area. A 3-day training course entitled ‘Tackling Trafficking in Human Beings, Prevention, Protection, Prosecution & Partnership’ has been developed and delivered jointly between An Garda Síochána and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). This training is delivered to frontline Gardaí, investigators, immigration officers, border management (Dublin Airport), who are most likely to identify potential victims of human trafficking.

The Human Trafficking Investigation and Co-Ordination Unit deliver this three-day human trafficking course twice annually. Human rights issues as they pertain to human trafficking are a fundamental component of the course and international experts on human trafficking also make presentations. I understand that as at year end 2018, over 1,400 Garda members had been trained in this course.