383. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí by rank attached to a unit (details supplied); when this unit last received an increase in personnel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44687/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): 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 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.
Community policing is at the heart of An Garda Síochána as it recognises that every community, either urban or rural, has its own concerns and expectations. The role of a community Garda is not a specialist role in An Garda Síochána; rather it is the case that all Gardaí have a role to play in community policing in carrying out their duties. The official categorisation of Community Garda simply refers to those who are exclusively assigned to building relationships with local communities and civil society including giving talks to schools, community groups and others. It is a matter for the Divisional Chief Superintendent to determine the optimum distribution of duties among the personnel available to him or her having regard to the profile of the area and its specific needs
As the Deputy will be aware, Coolock Garda Station forms part of the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) North Division. I am advised by the Garda Commissioner that the Garda strength of the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) North Division on 30 September 2018 was 705, of whom 108 were assigned to Coolock Garda Station. Of those assigned to Coolock Garda Station 7 are categorised as Community Gardaí. There are also 40 Garda Reserves and 47 Garda civilian staff attached to the Division. When appropriate, the work of local Gardaí is supported by a number of Garda national units such as the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Armed Support Units, the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.
I am informed by the Commissioner that since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014 almost 2,200 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide, of whom 35 have been assigned to Coolock Garda station. Garda numbers, taking account of projected retirements, increased to 13,551 at the end of 2017 - a net increase of over 600 since the end of 2016. This year a further 800 new Garda Recruits will enter the Garda College and we are on track to reach 14,000 by the end of 2018.
With the moratorium on recruitment and the closure of the training college Garda numbers dropped in all Divisions. We are still in the process of rebuilding to the numbers in the An Garda Síochána before the economic crisis. The numbers in Coolock have been steadily increasing since 2015 and as the accelerated recruitment continues into 2019 I am confident that the numbers of Gardaí stationed in Coolock will soon reach the pre crisis levels.
The recent report published by the Commission on the Future of Policing recommends a new district policing model, were all Garda personnel at district level, sworn and non-sworn, should work as a single district policing team, to solve problems affecting community safety, reduce crime and prevent harm. I, alongside my Departmental Officials, are currently analysing the Report and my officials are currently engaging in consultations with An Garda Síochána, the policing oversight bodies and the relevant Departments, in order to inform my substantive response and high-level implementation plan that I intend to bring to Government by December.
The information in relation to the number of Community Gardaí by Rank attached to the Community Policing Unit at Coolock Garda Station as of 30 September 2018, the latest date for which figures are currently available as provided by the Garda Commissioner, is as set out in the table.
Number categorised as Community Garda Coolock Garda Station 30 September 2018
The number of Gardaí by rank assigned to Coolock Garda Station from 2009 to Sept 2018 is as set out in the table.
Number of Gardaí assigned to Coolock from 2009 - Sept 2018
For more general information on Garda Facts and Figures please see the link: http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/An_Garda_Siochana_facts_and_figures.