Written answers

Thursday, 20 June 2024

Department of Justice and Equality

An Garda Síochána

Photo of John BradyJohn Brady (Wicklow, Sinn Fein)
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9. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality to provide Garda numbers for each district, and station in Wicklow for each of the past five years, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26507/24]

Photo of James BrowneJames Browne (Wexford, Fianna Fail)
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The Government is committed to ensuring that An Garda Síochána has the resources it needs to fight crime and a strengthened, well-resourced Garda organisation is central to this policy. I was pleased to secure unprecedented funding of over €2.35 billion for this year, a 25% increase since 2020 which is supporting the continued recruitment of Garda members and staff.

While the Garda Commissioner is operationally responsible for the allocation of Garda resources, I engage regularly with him to ensure our Gardaí have the resources they need. I am informed that when consideration is given to the allocation and transfer of Garda members to and 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’.

I understand that the requirements of all Garda Divisions nationwide are also taken into account, which include:

  • Local and national crime trends and workloads
  • Policing arrangements and operational strategies
  • Minimum establishment statistics
  • Local population and trends, geographical area and size
  • Transfer applications, including welfare, personnel issues and concerns.
At the end of April this year, there were 287 Garda members assigned to Wicklow Division, of which 123 Garda members were assigned to the Bray District, (101 Gardaí, 17 Sergeants, 4 Inspectors and 1 Superintendent). In the Wicklow District there were 99 Garda members (81 Gardaí, 14 Sergeants, 3 Inspectors and 1 Superintendent). While in the Baltinglass District there were 65 Garda members (57 Gardaí, 7 Sergeants, and 1 Inspector).

These Garda members are supported by 33 Garda staff, an increase of 50% since end 2015.

I am pleased to note that since 2015, a total of 88 Probationer Gardaí have been assigned to Wicklow Division. This includes 9 Probationer Gardaí who attested in March this year.

As numbers rise towards our target of 15,000 Gardaí, the number of Gardaí per head of population will increase further.

Coupled with the continued roll-out of the new Operating Model, I am confident that the Commissioner will have the resources and plans in place to continue to deliver on An Garda Síochána's mission of Keeping People Safe.

Photo of Brendan GriffinBrendan Griffin (Kerry, Fine Gael)
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14. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her views on ways to establish a more tangible Garda presence in rapidly growing communities that do not have a Garda station in the immediate locality; how community policing can be built and strengthened; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26454/24]

Photo of Helen McEnteeHelen McEntee (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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Everyone deserves to be safe and feel safe in their own communities, and of course having a visible Garda presence in the community is an important part of that.

The unprecedented allocation of over €2 billion for 2023 and €2.35 billion for 2024 to An Garda Síochána demonstrates the Government's commitment to ensuring An Garda Síochána has provision to recruit the personnel it needs to carry out its vital policing work. This funding allows for the continued recruitment of Garda members and staff.

The Deputy mentioned community policing and this is at the heart of An Garda Síochána. All Gardaí have a role to play in community policing in the course of carrying out their duties. Community policing is also fundamental to the new Garda Operating Model which is currently being rolled out across the country and is fully commenced in 13 Garda divisions.

The new model will provide more front-line Gardaí, increased Garda visibility, and a wider range of policing services for people in their local area. It will divide service delivery within the division into four functional areas, one of the most important areas being Community Engagement. This will allow for a greater, more consistent focus on community policing in all divisions.

The Garda authorities have advised that a member of An Garda Síochána can be deemed to be a ‘Community Garda’ where that person is allocated to a Community Policing Team (CPT) and is responsible and accountable for applying a problem–solving approach to crime and policing quality of life issues in a specified geographic area through partnership and engagement. Examples of this engagement are working with Neighbourhood Watch, Community Alert, or local business fora.

Like most Garda members, those assigned to CPTs have dual functions. In addition to their strategic roles in their Community Policing Teams, part of which requires them to regularly update their Community Engagement Superintendent on the policing needs of their community, they are also frontline members. It is also important to note that CPTs draw on all frontline Gardaí to carry out community policing.

Of course, the Gardai cannot be solely responsible for safety in the community. Our whole-of-government Community Safety Strategy aims to address issues relating to community safety by bringing the relevant social service providers and the Gardaí together to work with the community in a collaborative manner by focusing on tackling the concerns identified by the local community itself. The roll-out of Local Community Safety Partnerships across the country later this year will be a core part of that.

There are currently around 14,000 Garda members across the country. This represents an increase of around 9% since 2015 when there were 12,816 Garda members throughout the country. A new recruitment campaign for Garda Reserves was also launched recently. This competition will be open until 4 July.

I am assured that Garda management keeps the distribution of Garda resources under continual review, in the context of crime trends and policing priorities.


Belinda Nugent
Posted on 24 Jun 2024 4:09 pm (Report this comment)

Local community safety partnerships in Dublin's northeast inner city are ineffective in meeting the needs on the ground. It would be better to scrape this model and bring back the Community policing forum that had an open door to the community and worked tirelessly to address issues that arose from the ground. This community-led approach is what is needed.

Since the LCSP was established, the streets have been much worse than they have ever been, with violence and drugs. Crime rates have increased, and children are being recruited as young as 8 years of age into criminality. We need proper community-led and community-based agencies.

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