The Policing Authority is tasked with overseeing the implementation of the agreed recommendations of the Garda Inspectorate report, Changing Policing in Ireland, and reporting to me on a regular basis. I welcome its fourth progress report which includes an in-depth assessment of the human resources function within An Garda Síochána. Human resources is an important strategic business support in any organisation but this is most especially the case in an organisation such as An Garda Síochána that is undertaking a programme of reform in tandem with a major expansion of its workforce. In this regard, the Deputy will be aware the Government is committed to an increased Garda workforce, comprising 15,000 gardaí, 4,000 civilians and 2,000 reservists, over the next four years.
The broad principles underpinning the deployment of these additional personnel are contained in the Garda Commissioner's modernisation and renewal programme for the period 2016 to 2021 and supported by the Government's commitment to civilianisation and in particular the medium-term target of 20% civilians to be achieved by 2021. However, I agree with the authority's assessment that a HR strategy articulating how these resources are to be leveraged in support of visible, responsive policing is necessary at this stage. This would assist in ensuring that there is clarity as to how the contribution of gardaí, reservists and civilian staff is to be optimised throughout the organisation and ensure a coherent approach. It would also facilitate better planning in other areas, for example, with regard to training needs and accommodation needs. The Garda Commissioner is committed to the development of such a strategy by mid-year as part of the 2018 annual policing plan. I will be meeting the Garda Commissioner shortly to discuss the fourth report and this subject will be one of the key items on the agenda.