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Garda Deployment

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 7 March 2017

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Ceisteanna (141)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

141. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí employed in the drug units in Waterford city for each of the years 2007 to 2016, and to date in 2017, in tabular form. [12172/17]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and Units and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. I am assured by the Garda Commissioner that the allocation of Gardaí is continually monitored and reviewed taking into account all relevant factors including crime trends, demographics, and security assessments relating to the area in question so as to ensure optimal use is made of Garda human resources.

It is important to note that all Gardaí have a responsibility in the prevention and detection of criminal activity whether it be in the area of drug offences or otherwise. I can assure the Deputy that An Garda Síochána continues to pro-actively and resolutely tackle all forms of drug crime in this jurisdiction. The Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau leads out the policing strategy for tackling drugs supply and works closely with dedicated Divisional Drugs units and other national units, including the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) in targeting persons involved in the illicit sale and supply of drugs. This approach allows for the co-ordinated use of Garda resources in tackling all forms of organised crime, including illicit drug activity nationwide.

This Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime. To make this a reality for all, the Government has in place a plan to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 reserve members and 4,000 civilians. This year, funding has been provided for the recruitment of 800 Garda recruits and up to 500 civilians to support the wide ranging reform plan in train in An Garda Síochána. Funding has also been provided for the recruitment of 300 Garda reserves.

I am informed by the Garda Commissioner, since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, that 838 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide, 24 of whom have been assigned to the Waterford Division. I am also informed that another 750 trainee Garda are scheduled to attest this year which will see Garda numbers, taking account of projected retirements, increase to around the 13,500 mark by year end.

This focus on investment in personnel is critical. The moratorium on recruitment introduced in 2010 resulted in a significant reduction in the strength of An Garda Síochána. We are now rebuilding the organisation and providing the Garda Commissioner with the resources she needs to allow her to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí across the organisation including the divisional drugs units.

The investment in personnel is complemented by substantial investment in resources across the board for An Garda Síochána. The Deputy will be aware of the significant resources that have been made available to An Garda Síochána under the Government's Capital Plan 2016 - 2021. In particular, some €205 million in additional funding for Garda ICT and €46 million for new Garda vehicles has been allocated over the lifetime of the plan. This investment will facilitate the provision of more effective policing services and support An Garda Síochána in tackling illicit drug activity.

The Garda Síochána's 2008 Policing Plan contained the Commissioner's proposals for re-aligning Garda Divisional boundaries to make them coterminous with local authority boundaries. As a consequence, Waterford, which was part of the Waterford/Kilkenny Division, was established as a stand-alone Division as of 1st January 2009. Accordingly, the following table outlines the strength of the Waterford Divisional Drugs Unit from 2009 onwards and up to 31 January 2017, the latest date for which figures are available.

Waterford Divisional Drugs Unit

Year

Numbers

2009

12

2010

14

2011

10

2012

10

2013

9

2014

5

2015

5

2016

5

*2017

5

*As of 31 January 2017

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