I warmly welcome the introduction of the new Operating Model of An Garda Síochána. This model has long been recommended by independent policing specialists, including the Garda Síochána Inspectorate and in the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland (CoFPI). Rollout of this model meets a key commitment in A Policing Service for the Future, the four-year implementation plan giving effect to the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.
I understand from the Commissioner that the aim of the Model is to reduce bureaucracy and increase the numbers of frontline Gardaí, and in this way improve policing services provided to communities nationwide. The new model is also expected to increase community engagement and expand access to a wider range of specialist services across the country.
I am informed by the Commissioner a number of considerations were taken into account in developing the new model and the restructuring of Divisions, including population, geography, projected growth, crime trends and workload across a range of work streams.
While new to Ireland, this model is the norm in other countries. It will reduce bureaucracy and shift real decision-making power from Garda Headquarters to the Chief Superintendents, closer to the communities they serve.
I am informed that Divisions will be typically made up of approximately 600 to 800 personnel. This will ensure each Division has the resources and skills to deliver a wider range of community policing and specialist services based on the demand in their area. I understand that under this model, each Division will consist of the following hubs:
- Community Engagement
- Performance Assurance
- Business Services.
I understand that the new model will be implemented on a phased basis throughout 2020. The first five Divisions where the new Model will be implemented, are Galway, Cork City, Dublin South Central, Meath/Westmeath and Limerick.
In terms of Garda resources nationwide, I would point out that An Garda Síochána is a growing organisation – there are now approximately 14,200 Gardaí nationwide, supported by over 2,900 Garda staff and 470 Garda Reserves.
I am confident that this ongoing investment in Garda resources together with the ongoing reform process will result in an improved policing service for all communities, urban and rural, now and into the future.
Detailed information on the Garda workforce is available on my Department's website at http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Garda_Workforce
For more general information on Garda facts and figures, the Deputy may also wish to see the information on the link below: http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/An_Garda_Siochana_facts_and_figures.