Thursday, 3 June 2021
Department of Justice and Equality
An Garda Síochána
As the Deputy will be aware, under the Garda Síochána Act 2005, as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the management and administration of Garda business, including the deployment of Garda members throughout the State, including to specialist units within the organisation. As Minister, I have no role in these independent functions.
An Garda Síochána has significantly stepped up its dedicated resources in the cyber area in recent years and is continuing to grow its capabilities in this field. The Garda Commissioner established a dedicated Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau (GNCCB) last summer, led by a Detective Chief Superintendent.
GNCCB is responsible for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of cybercrime incidents in the State. Cybercrime generally involves incidents where the internet, information and communication technology (ICT) systems or digital devices play a significant role in the commission of a criminal offence. GNCCB works collaboratively with local and national Garda units along with national and international stakeholders to reduce the threat and impact of cybercrime on individuals and organisations.
GNCCB is now in expansion phase, with increases of nearly 80 additional staff planned between this year and 2022, with 25 of these already in place. I am advised that this expansion of GNCCB will include the recruitment of 20 civilian expert posts at engineer grade.
I am advised by the Garda authorities that on 12 April 2021, 25 additional sworn Garda members were allocated to GNCCB, comprising 4 Detective Sergeants and 21 Detective Gardaí. 15 of these Garda members were allocated to Cyber Satellite Hubs based in Cork, Galway, Mullingar & Wexford, whilst the remaining 9 were allocated to the National Cybercrime Unit based in Harcourt Square.
I am advised by Garda authorities that total staffing levels in GNCCB stand at 45 Garda members and 6 Garda staff. I am advised that it is anticipated that a further allocation of staff to GNCCB will occur in the near future.
I am also advised that GNCCB’s own IT capability is also increasing, with a new decryption suite procured earlier this year. This work is also resourced through a smaller expert team in the National Crime and Security Intelligence Service.
As the Deputy will be aware, An Garda Síochána maintains strong international links and is liaising and co-operating with international law enforcement and security partners – Interpol, Europol, the FBI and the UK’s National Crime Agency.
A breakdown of the number of Garda members assigned to the unit is provided in the table below.
The current staffing levels at the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau.
150. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the plans in place or being considered to provide a multi-agency mental health crisis de-escalation team that will include gardaí; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29840/21]
As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Commissioner is by law responsible for the management and operations of An Garda Síochána, including operations with other state agencies. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters.
I am advised by the Garda Commissioner that a pilot mental health crisis intervention team is being prepared in Limerick Garda Division. This pilot project is in line with the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing, which recommended in its report the creation of a specialist uniform unit who will work conjointly with health professionals to provide a rapid and integrated 24/7 response to persons with mental health issues.
I am further advised by the Commissioner that this pilot project is being progressed in close collaboration with the HSE, and will include the creation of a crisis intervention team and specific training for members of this pilot team. It is hoped to being the rollout of this pilot team early next year.