492. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí in each district in the Dublin region who have completed the CBD level-three driving course in each of the years 2016 and 2017 and to date in 2018; when this course will be next run; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24856/18]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As you will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who has statutory responsibility for carrying on and managing and controlling generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána including training and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. It is important to say that members of An Garda Síochána undertake a wide variety of roles that require different skill sets and different kinds of training including, for example, in relation to child protection, crime scene examination, cybercrime and so forth. It is not necessary for every member to have specialist knowledge of every area of policing. In the case of advanced driving skills, not all members are required to drive on a daily basis or to have the capacity to respond emergency response calls in a high speed vehicle.
Responsibility for training lies with the Garda College and the Divisional Continuing Professional Development Schools under the overall responsibility of the Executive Director for Human Resources and People Development and I am informed by the Garda authorities that following a review of its driver training programmes in 2009, An Garda Síochána introduced a five level suite of competency based driving (CBD) courses with each level specifically catering for the required knowledge base, skill set and operational requirements of members undergoing the relevant training. The review was informed by the Garda Inspectorate’s report into roads policing. I understand that CBD Level 3 is of three weeks duration and specifically designed for Gardaí assigned to the Specialist Units concentrating on the competencies necessary to drive Garda vehicles and carry out all driving emergency response and vehicle stopping relevant to the roles of the Specialist Units. While there is no set date for the next CBD3 training programme, the Commissioner has informed me that this will be facilitated in the third quarter of this year subject to operational demand.
The Deputy will be aware that under this Government's programme of accelerated recruitment, just under 1,800 new recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014. I am informed by the Commissioner that this welcome increase in the strength of the Garda rank together with some 2,000 new vehicles coming on stream in the period 2013 to 2017 has resulted in a continuous demand for driver training courses.
I am advised that Garda management are conducting a review to identify how the delivery of the current driver training system can be improved. I understand that consultations have taken place with the PSNI and other police services to identify best practice with regard to models of training. Pending the outcome of this review I am advised that places on driving courses will continue to be allocated on a scheduled basis with priority being given where there is an immediate operational demand for drivers in a Division or Unit.
As CBD3 training is specifically geared toward the Specialist Units, for the Deputy's information I have set out in the table the total number of gardaí who successfully completed CBD3 training, in each of the years 2016 and 2017 and up to 30 April 2018, the latest date for which figures are currently available.

Number of Gardaí who successfully completed CBD3 Driver Training in 2016 - 2018

Year 2016 2017 2018*
Total 41 83 45

*Up to 30 April 2018