Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Department of Justice and Equality
270. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí available for duty throughout the country in each of the past seven years to date in 2017; the extent by which it is expected to augment these numbers in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52035/17]
As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.
The Garda strength on 31 October 2017, the latest date for which figures are available, was 13,378.
As the Deputy will be aware 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. To achieve this the Government has put in place a plan for an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians. We are making real, tangible progress on achieving this goal.
I am informed by the Commissioner that since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, close to 1,400 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide. I look forward to attending the attestation of another 200 trainee Garda on Friday which will see Garda numbers, taking account of projected retirements, increase to around the 13,500 mark by year end – a net increase of 500 since the end of 2016.
I am also pleased to say that Budget 2018 will maintain this high level of investment in the Garda workforce and ensure that the vision of an overall workforce of 21,000 by 2021 remains on track. A further 800 new Garda Recruits will enter the Garda College. This will see Garda numbers reach the 14,000 mark by the end of 2018.
In addition a further 500 civilians will also be recruited to fill critical skills gaps across the organisation and to facilitate the redeployment of Gardaí from administrative and technical duties to front-line operational duties. There are plans to strengthen the Garda Reserve with new Reserves expected to commence training early in 2018.
This focus on investment in personnel is critical. The moratorium on recruitment introduced in 2010 resulted in a significant reduction in the strength of An Garda Síochána. We are now rebuilding the organisation and providing the Commissioner with the resources needed to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí across every Garda Division, in the coming years.
I have set out the information requested by the Deputy for each of the past seven years to 31 October 2017, the latest date for which figures are readily available from the Commissioner.
|Overall Garda Strength 2010-2017|
*As of 31 October 2017