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Question

39. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has discussed the provision of additional information technology resources for An Garda Síochána with the Garda Commissioner and Policing Authority in view of recent reports on deficiencies in the Garda PULSE information technology system revealed by the recent Garda internal review into diversion programme referrals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11461/19]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Programme for a Partnership Government recognises that Gardaí must have the modern technology and resources necessary to detect and investigate crimes, and to prevent loss and harm to citizens and their property on a 24/7 basis.  The key importance of ICT is also recognised in the report of the Commission on the future of Policing in Ireland and forms an important part of its Implementation Plan - A Policing Service for the Future.
The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation of €1.76 billion for 2019.  These resources are being provided in support of the Government's commitment to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime.
Specifically in relation to ICT, €342 million is being invested in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021 to enable An Garda Síochána to utilise appropriate technologies in delivering professional policing and security services for the community.
As the Deputy will appreciate, in accordance with Section 26 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána. Further, decisions in relation to the allocation and management of Garda equipment and resources, including ICT, are a matter for the Commissioner, in light of identified operational demands.  As Minister, I have no direct role in that matter.  I understand however that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure their optimum use.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that Garda ICT is currently engaging with the Garda Youth Diversion Office in relation to the revised operating procedures and accompanying software solutions required arising from the recommendations of the recent Garda Youth Referral Review.
The Deputy may also wish to be aware that the Garda authorities indicate that among the significant ICT projects underway, a new Investigations Management System is currently being developed.  On roll-out this year, it will allow for the management of activities completed as part of an investigation, maintain a full history of the chain of events in an investigation and manage the information gathered and decisions/actions taken. It will also integrate closely with the new document and content management system, the new Property and Exhibits Management System, and other Garda IT systems, such as PULSE.
Additional resources for ICT, over and above the total allocation of €342 million between 2016-2021, including the allocation of over €61 million for Garda ICT in 2019, have not been requested by the Garda authorities in order to respond to matters raised in the Garda report referred to by the Deputy.