Thursday, 26 November 2020

Questions (341)

Denise Mitchell

Question:

341. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Justice the number of gardaí by rank attached to the community relations unit in DMR North in each of the years 2009 to 2019 and to date in 2020, in tabular form. [39518/20]

View answer

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.

With regard to the number of Gardaí attached to the community relations Unit within the DMR North for the years 2009 to 2014, I am advised by the Commissioner that the Community Relations Unit is a national service. National units support the work of all Garda Divisions across the country and are consequently not broken down by Division.

However, figures for Community Policing by Division for the years 2008 up to October 2020 can be found on my Department's website at the following link:

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

It should also be noted that, 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.

For the Deputy's information the table below, as provided to me by the Garda authorities, sets out the number of Community Gardaí by rank, assigned to Community Policing duties, in the DMR North for the years 2015 up to and including 31 October 2020.

DMR North

Garda

Sergeant

Total

31-Oct-20

14

3

17

2019

34

5

39

2018

46

5

51

2017

43

4

47

2016

48

5

53

2015

53

5

58

I am further informed by the Garda authorities that some members attached to Community Policing Units in DMR North were temporarily re-assigned to the regular units at the commencement of the COVID-19 roster. However, members from the Community Policing Units remain in contact with their contacts throughout the community and have been providing valuable assistance to vulnerable persons throughout the crisis.