Thursday, 5 November 2020

Questions (196)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

196. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice the position regarding a community policing unit in a Garda sub-district (details supplied) in County Dublin; the number of Garda members by rank in this community policing unit in each of the years 2016 to 2019 and to date in 2020; if this community policing unit is operational; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34510/20]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the management and administration of An Garda Síochána. Further, the allocation of Garda resources is made in light of identified operational demands. This includes deployment of personnel among the various Garda Divisions. As Minister, I have no direct role in the matter.

I am assured, however, that Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of policing priorities and crime trends, to ensure their optimum use. I understand that it is a matter for the Divisional Chief Superintendent to determine the optimum distribution of duties among the personnel available to him or her, having regard to the profile of each area within the Division and its specific needs.

To date, the official categorisation as a Community Garda has simply referred to those who are exclusively assigned to building relationships with local communities and civil society including giving talks to schools, community groups and others. However, it is important to note that community policing is at the heart of An Garda Síochána and that all Gardaí have a role to play in community policing in carrying out their duties. Indeed, this has never been more evident than in the work carried out by all members of the Gardaí over the last eight months as we have tackled the COVID-19 pandemic.

I have been advised by the Garda authorities the table below sets out the number of Community Gardaí assigned to Swords Garda Station in the years in question.

Year

Sergeant

Garda

Total

2019

1

8

9

2018

1

9

10

2017

1

9

10

2016

1

9

10

Insofar as the current year is concerned, I am further advised that Garda Members attached to Swords Community Policing Unit were temporarily re-assigned to the Regular units at the commencement of the new roster introduced as part of the response by An Garda Síochána to Covid-19. I am assured by the Garda authorities that members from the Community Policing Unit remain in contact with their contacts throughout the community, and have been providing valuable assistance to vulnerable persons throughout the crisis.

As the Deputy will be aware, Swords is located in the DMR North Garda Division, and forms part of the Coolock District. At 30 September 2020, the latest date for which figures are available, there 237 Gardaí assigned to the Coolock District. As of the same date there were 88 Gardaí members were assigned specifically to Swords Garda Station, which included 76 Gardaí, 11 Sergeants and 1 Inspector.

I can inform the Deputy that detailed information in relation to Community Garda numbers is available on my Department’s website. This information is updated every month with the latest data provided by An Garda Síochána, at the following link:

http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/An_Garda_Siochana_facts_and_figures