Tuesday, 15 November 2016
Department of Justice and Equality
161. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which the various forms of crime continue to be monitored and appropriate action taken to address any trends emerging in all areas throughout the country, urban and rural; if he has any particular or specific strategies to deal with the issues; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35202/16]
As the Deputy will be aware, the Central Statistics Office (CSO), as the national statistical agency, is responsible for the publication of recorded crime statistics.
I am advised that Garda management constantly monitor the distribution of policing resources in the light of crime trends and overall policing needs in all areas of the country, with a view to providing an effective and responsive police service.
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 and the Deputy will be aware that in the most recent CSO figures, for Quarter 2 of 2016, there were decreases in many crime categories, including a 26% reduction in burglaries. This reflects the success of the concerted Garda drive against crime being implemented under Operation Thor. It is important we build on this success by ensuring that Garda numbers continue to increase. The Government has put 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. In 2017, funding has been provided for the recruitment of 800 Garda recruits and up to 500 civilians to support the wide ranging programme of reform which is being implemented in An Garda Síochána. In addition, approximately 300 appointments will be made to the Garda Reserve.
The ongoing recruitment process will support all policing operations, including special targeted strategies such as Operation Thor, which marks a significant step-up in the Garda response to burglaries and related crime.An additional €55 million has been provided in 2016 resulting in a more than doubling of the overtime allocation for 2016, bringing the total to over €90 million. For 2017, I have secured a further €71.5 million for Garda overtime which will facilitate the continuation of large scale policing operations, including those targeting gangland crime and burglary.
Furthermore, investment in a modern, effective and fit-for-purpose Garda fleet will continue under the Government’s Capital Plan 2016-2021 which provides €46 million for new Garda vehicles, ensuring that Gardaí can be mobile, visible and responsive, on the roads and in the community. The Government is also investing in Garda airborne surveillance and enhanced technology and ICT systems. In fact, some €330 million, including €205 million under the Capital Plan, is being invested in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021 to enable An Garda Síochána to deploy the latest cutting edge technologies in the fight against crime. All of these investments underline the commitment in the Programme for Government to resource and equip An Garda Síochána to provide enhanced policing and support local communities in all areas of the country.