Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which An Garda Síochána has at its disposal all the necessary provisions to deal with organised crime in all areas nationally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21313/19]
93. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the degree to which An Garda Síochána continues to combat the activity of organised criminal gangs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21317/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 89 and 93 together.
Addressing organised crime is a key policing priority for the Government and An Garda Síochána with significant resources dedicated to supporting Gardaí in their work to tackle criminal gangs, including mobile gangs, that seek to target our communities.
Since the re-opening of the Garda College in September 2014, just under 2,400 Garda recruits have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide, including 800 new Garda during 2018. The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion, an increase of over €100 million on the 2018 allocation.
The Commissioner plans to recruit a total of 600 trainee Gardaí in 2019 in addition to 600 civilians. This recruitment will facilitate the Commissioner in redeploying a further 500 fully trained Gardaí from administrative duties to frontline policing in 2019. The Government's commitment to increase the overall strength of the force to 15,000 Gardaí will be achieved by 2021.
The manner in which the resources of An Garda Síochána are deployed, including personnel, is a matter for the Garda Commissioner and his management team. I am informed by the Commissioner that the additional resources have enabled him to assign extra staff to specialist units involved in tackling organised crime, including the Armed Support Unit, Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and the Criminal Assets Bureau.
There are a number of successful Garda operations in place to disrupt the activities of criminal gangs. Operation Thor, launched in November 2015, focuses on burglary and related crime. Up to May 2019, it has resulted in over 200,900 targeted checkpoints and more than 356,300 crime prevention patrols carried out nationwide. It has led to approximately 10,000 arrests and 11,550 charges covering a range of offences which, in addition to burglary, have included handling stolen property, possession of firearms and drugs offences. An Garda Síochána will continue to exert pressure on the gangs and individuals responsible for these type of offences.
Operation Hybrid was deployed in response to the escalation in violence between organised crime gangs in the Dublin Metropolitan Region. Up to May 2019, it has resulted in almost 77,000 high visibility checkpoints. It is based on a three-pronged approach - prevention, investigation and targeting. Figures on arrests and charges under Operation Hybrid are currently being prepared by An Garda Síochána.
The results of these and other operations of An Garda Síochána demonstrate the clear commitment to tackling organised crime gangs and working towards making our communities safer. Question No. 90 answered with Question No. 85.