I share the Deputy's concern at the incidence of burglaries and I am conscious of the deep distress which this type of crime can cause to householders, and to the broader impact it can have in terms of fear of crime in our communities.
All crime trends are monitored closely by Garda management, with intelligence-led initiatives put in place to target burglary and other criminality. The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner has recently announced the introduction of a wide range of measures aimed at tackling gangs involved in burglaries. These measures are encompassed in Operation Fiacla, which is particularly focused on identifying and targeting mobile gangs involved in burglaries around the country so as to disrupt their activities and bring them before the Courts. Specific burglary related initiatives are being implemented in each Garda Region in support of Operation Fiacla.
In terms of prevention, the National Crime Prevention Unit (NCPU) and Crime Prevention Officers at divisional level provide advice, information and support to organisations, businesses and individuals aimed at reducing burglary crime and the opportunity to commit burglary. These specially trained officers are skilled at identifying environmental design risks and advise on ways to reduce opportunities to commit burglary and other property crime. During 2012, the national ‘Garda Supporting Safer Communities Campaign' will continue to highlight key issues, in particular burglary prevention. The first such campaign was launched by the Garda Commissioner on 2 May and a second campaign will take place in September.
Insofar as developments with respect to Ashbourne Garda District are concerned, the Garda Commissioner's Policing Plan for 2012, which I laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas on 5 December 2011, sets out, among other things, plans for the amalgamation of Garda Districts. In this context the Garda Districts in Laytown and Ashbourne in the Meath Garda Division were amalgamated and form the new Ashbourne Garda District.
I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the personnel strength of Ashbourne Garda Station on 31 March 2012, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 45. The personnel strength of the overall Meath Garda Division, on the same date was 296. There are also 30 Garda Reserves and 22 Civilians attached to the Meath Garda Division. These resources are augmented, when appropriate, by gardaí from national units such as the Garda National Drug Unit and the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
The Commissioner, in consultation with his senior management team, is responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, throughout the organisation. The allocation of resources is constantly monitored in the context of crime trends, policing needs and other operational strategies in place on a District, Divisional and Regional level to ensure optimum use is made of Garda resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the public. The priority is, and will remain, that an effective and professional policing service is provided to every part of the community.