Thursday, 12 December 2019

Ceisteanna (125)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

125. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the year in which there was the most ever sworn members of An Garda Síochána; and the strength of the force in that year. [52505/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

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 to deter crime.

I have been advised by the Garda authorities that the most ever sworn members of An Garda Síochána was 14,716 in September 2009. Garda numbers declined year on year after that point until they reached the level of 12,799 in December 2014.

Since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, approximately 3,000 probationers have attested and been assigned to frontline policing duties nationwide, including the 197 new probationers that attested on 29 November. We now have over 14,300 Garda members nationwide and we are on track to reach the Government's target of a total of 15,000 Garda members, as part of an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 by 2021.

In the same period, Garda staff numbers have increased significantly through the ongoing process of civilianisation. Garda staff numbers have increased from 2,055 at the end of 2014 to over 2,900 today. The accelerated recruitment of Garda staff is facilitating the redeployment of Gardaí from administrative to mainstream policing duties where their training and expertise can be used to best effect.

Taken together, this increase in Garda and civilian staff numbers means a significant increase in operational policing hours nationwide in recent years.

A record €1.76 billion was allocated to the Garda Vote for 2019 and this is increasing further to an unprecedented €1.882 billion for 2020. Significant capital investment is also being made, amounting to a total of €92 million this year and rising further to over €116 million in 2020. This ongoing funding is allowing for sustained recruitment of Garda members and staff. The budget allocated for 2020 will allow for the recruitment of up to 700 new Gardaí and additional Garda staff, the balance of which will be for the Commissioner to decide based on operational needs.

The Deputy may find it helpful to be aware that information in relation to Garda numbers by rank and Division is available on my Department’s website. This information is updated every month with the latest data provided by An Garda Síochána. This information is available at the following link:

http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/002_Garda_Numbers_by_Division_District_and_Station_2009_to_October_2019.xlsx/Files/002_Garda_Numbers_by_Division_District_and_Station_2009_to_October_2019.xlsx

Information on Garda staff is available at the following link:

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

For more information on the Garda Workforce as well as general information on Garda facts and figures, the Deputy may also wish to see the information on the links below:

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

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