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An Garda Síochána

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 25 November 2021

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Ceisteanna (201)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

201. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice the number of members in An Garda Síochána at present; if it is planned to increase the strength of the force and provide the funding for same; the number of stations in the country that have less than their allocated number of Garda members attached to them; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [56742/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, under the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the management and administration of Garda business, including decisions related to the deployment of resources within the organisation. As Minister, I have no role in such matters. However, I am assured that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of policing priorities and crime trends, to ensure their optimum use.

I am pleased that Budget 2022 reflects the commitment of the Government to enhancing community safety and that An Garda Síochána has the resources to be an effective and trusted policing service.

The budget provided by Government to the Garda Commissioner continues to increase to unprecedented levels, with an allocation of €1.952 billion for 2021 and over €2 billion in funding in Budget 2022. Indeed since 2016, the budget for An Garda Síochána has increased by some €500m, or approximately 33%. This has enabled 3,340 new Gardaí to be deployed, as well as continued investment in modern equipment. In addition, over 800 Gardaí have been redeployed to front line policing work through the recruitment of Garda staff.

I am delighted that Budget 2022 includes funding for the recruitment of 800 new Garda recruits and 400 Garda staff in 2022 - a further additional 1,200 personnel. This planned increase in the number of Garda members and staff is designed to deliver significant growth in operational policing hours nationwide and improved public safety and services to the public generally.

Redeployment of Gardaí from administrative and support roles will also continue next year, thus allowing highly trained Gardaí to focus on frontline policing duties. The organisation's capacity will be further strengthened by the recruitment of additional Garda staff, including to specialist roles to support the investigation of crime and enhance the management of the organisation.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that there are 14,298 Garda members as at 31 October 2021. I am further informed that to date in 2021, 385 new recruits have entered the Garda College. An Garda Síochána have advised that a recruitment plan for 2022 is currently being developed to manage the recruitment processes for Garda members and Garda staff roles.

Implementation will of course be dependent on public health guidelines but I very much hope it will be possible to maximise the intake to Templemore next year. I understand there are a number of successful candidates still to be called from the last competition but I am delighted to confirm that a new Garda Trainee competition is also being planned for early next year.

I am further advised that when consideration is given by Garda management to the allocation of resources, including newly attested probationer Gardaí, and in facilitating transfers of personnel to or from any division, account is given to commitments and undertakings outlined in the Annual Policing Plan and priorities as determined in delivering ‘A Policing Service for The Future’.

The allocation of Garda resources to any particular station at any given time is a matter for the Garda Commissioner to determine rather than by reference to any set allocation. In determining the allocation of resources local and national crime trends and workloads, policing arrangements and operational strategies, minimum establishment statistics, local population and trends, geographical area and size, and transfer applications, including welfare/personnel issues and concerns, are taken into account in the context of the requirements of all Garda divisions nationwide.

To ensure the continued level of delivery of policing services within Garda divisions, local and senior Garda management are also consulted during the allocation of personnel and are responsible for the specific deployment/assignment of duties being undertaken at divisional level. I understand that the situation remains closely monitored by the Garda Senior Leadership Team, particularly in view of commitments to the continued roll-out of the Operating Model of policing at Divisional level to ensure optimum use of all Garda Resources in providing the best possible Garda service to the community.

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