Thursday, 10 September 2020
Department of Justice and Equality
184. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the total strength of An Garda Síochána as of 1 June in each of the past five years to date and on 1 June 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23241/20]
190. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of extra gardaí who have been provided for police work at various locations throughout the country in the past 12 months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23247/20]
192. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the current strength of An Garda Síochána at the various Garda stations throughout County Kildare; the degree to which numbers have fluctuated in the past 12 months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23249/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 184, 190 and 192 together.
As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions. As Minister, I 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 of all Divisions, as provided by the Commissioner, is available on my Department’s website through the link below.
185. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the degree to which she remains satisfied that the increase in Garda numbers is continuing on course; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23242/20]
The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner is by law responsible for the management of An Garda Síochána, including personnel matters and deployment of resources. As Minister, I have no responsibility for these matters. I am assured, 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.
The resources provided to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2020 of €1.88 billion. This level of funding is enabling sustained, ongoing recruitment of Garda members and staff and as a result, An Garda Síochána is a growing organisation. There are now almost 14,700 Gardaí nationwide, supported by over 3,000 Garda staff and these numbers are continuing to grow. Taken together, this increase in the number of Garda members and staff is delivering a significant growth in operational policing hours nationwide.
As the Deputy will appreciate and in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and associated public health restrictions, public access to the Garda College has been prohibited since 12 March 2020. At that time, over 300 Garda trainees attested earlier than scheduled and sworn members of Garda College staff were deployed to operational duties in order to enhance Garda capacity to respond to that pandemic.
In terms of the current position, I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that arrangements have been made to permit further intakes of Garda recruits, despite the current situation. With regard to recruitment plans for 2020, An Garda Síochána have confirmed that they still intend to run a sworn member recruitment plan this year.
I am informed that approximately 150 new recruits commenced training under a revised delivery method, in light of the current circumstances. The first batch of approximately 75 commenced training on 25 May, and second batch of 75 recruits on 22 June.
I understand that training will consist of:
- 3 weeks on-line distance learning;
- 1 week residential at the Garda College;
- Weeks 5-16 assisting operational policing in allocated training stations in home divisions;
- Weeks 17-32 residential at the Garda College and attestation (all other things being equal).
I am further informed that the Garda College has put in place strict contingencies for the period during which recruits will attend the college and strict social distancing will be enforced for the duration.