The Garda Commissioner is statutorily responsible for the management of An Garda Síochána, including personnel matters and deployment of resources. As Minister, I have no responsibility for these matters. I understand however that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities, to ensure their optimum use.
A record €1.76 billion was allocated to the Garda Vote for 2019 and this is increasing further to an unprecedented €1.882 billion for 2020. Significant capital investment is also being made, amounting to a total of €92 million this year and rising further to over €116 million in 2020.
This level of funding is enabling sustained, ongoing recruitment of Garda members and staff and as a result, An Garda Síochána is a growing organisation.
Since the Garda College reopened in late 2014, 59 newly attested Gardaí have been assigned to the Wicklow Division by the Garda Commissioner, including 4 from the most recent attestation last Friday.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that as of 31 October 2019, there were 310 Gardaí assigned to the Wicklow Division, supported by 32 Garda staff. I am further informed that the total number of Garda staff in the Division has increased from 22 in 2015, which represents a 45% increase in Garda staff in the Wicklow Division. I am further informed that as of 22 October 2019, this increase in Garda staff has supported the redeployment of 11 Gardaí from administrative to operational policing duties in the Wicklow Division, where their training and expertise can be used to best effect. Taken together, the increase in Garda staff and redeployment of Gardaí from administrative duties means a significant increase in operational policing hours in Wicklow in recent years. In addition, it should be recalled that Garda National Units support Garda Divisions on an ongoing basis.
As requested by the Deputy, attached is a table outlining the ratio of total Gardaí to population size assigned to Wicklow and all other Divisions (i.e. excluding National Units) in the past five years. However, An Garda Síochána has pointed out and it is important to note that ratios such as the number of Gardai 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.
I am informed by the Commissioner that a number of factors, including crime and non-crime workload, minimum establishment, population, area, policing arrangements, operational strategies and transfers applications, and welfare issues impact upon the allocation and transfer of Garda Personnel. I am assured that comprehensive consultation occurs with local Garda management during which all the above-mentioned factors are considered. I am further assured that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities, to ensure optimum use of resources.
Further information is available in the following link.