As the Deputy will appreciate, the Commissioner has responsibility for managing An Garda Síochána and for the allocation of Garda resources, in light of identified operational demands. This includes responsibility for personnel matters. As Minister I have no direct role in these matters. I understand however that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities, to ensure their optimum use.
I am informed by the Commissioner that the allocation and transfer of Garda personnel, including newly attested probationer Gardaí, is determined by a number of factors including crime and non-crime workload, minimum establishment, population, area, policing arrangements, and operational strategies. I am further informed that when the allocation of resources to a Division is being considered, comprehensive consultation is carried out with local Garda management, during which all factors are taken into consideration.
I would remind Deputies that newly attested Gardaí have a further 16 months of practical and class-room based training to complete, before they receive their BA in Applied Policing. To ensure that they are properly supported and supervised and have opportunities to gain the breadth of policing experience required, the Commissioner's policy is to allocate them to specially designated training stations with the required training and development structures and resources in place, for example trained Garda tutors and access to a permanently appointed supervisory Sergeant, who is thoroughly familiar with their responsibilities under the training programme.
I am further informed by the Commissioner that while not all Garda Stations are training stations, the allocation of probationer Gardaí to a Divisional training station facilitates the reassignment of Gardaí to other stations within the Division, if required, by the Divisional Officer.
Finally, the Deputy may also wish to be aware that since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, almost 2,800 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána. This has seen an increase in the number of Garda members to just over 14,000 at the end of 2018, a net increase of over 1,000 since the end of 2016. And these numbers are increasing. We currently have over 14,200 Gardaí nationwide, supported by over 2,700 Garda staff and we are on track to achieve the Government’s plan of an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021.
The information as requested by the Deputy in relation to the allocation of Garda recruits since reopening of the Garda College is attached.