The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached record levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion, increasing to an unprecedented €1.88 billion for 2020.
The capital budget for An Garda Síochána has also been significantly increased. The capital allocation for 2019 amounted to €92 million, representing a 50% increase on capital investment in 2018. Capital investment will increase again to over €116 million in 2020, which will provide for continued investment in Garda ICT of approximately €75 million; a further €9 million for the Garda Fleet and approximately €32 million for the Garda estate.
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. We now have over 14,300 Gardaí nationwide, supported by over 2,900 Garda staff. It is important to note that the increased recruitment of Garda staff is facilitating the redeployment of Gardaí from administrative to mainstream policing duties where their training and expertise can be used to best effect.
Since the reopening of the Garda College in 2014, approximately 3,000 Garda recruits have been assigned to mainstream policing duties nationwide including 197 who attested last week on 29 November, the final attestation of this year. Taken together, the increase in Gardaí, Garda staff and the redeployment of Gardaí from administrative duties means a significant increase in operational policing hours around the country in recent years.
The Deputy may also be aware that funding has been allocated for 2020 which will allow for the recruitment of up to 700 new Gardaí and additional Garda staff, the balance of which will be for the Commissioner to decide based on operational needs.
It is important to note that 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 am informed by the Commissioner that a number of factors, including crime and non-crime workload, minimum establishment, population, policing arrangements, operational strategies and transfers applications, and welfare issues impact upon the allocation and transfer of Garda personnel amongst the Garda Divisions. 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.