Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí stationed at Clondalkin, Lucan, Ronanstown, Ballyfermot and Rathcoole; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27923/18]
260. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of community gardaí stationed at Clondalkin, Lucan, Ronanstown, Ballyfermot and Rathcoole; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27924/18]
261. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda Reserves stationed at Clondalkin, Lucan, Ronanstown, Ballyfermot and Rathcoole; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27925/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 259 to 261, inclusive, together.
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.
The Garda stations referred to form part of the Dublin Metropolitan Region (D.M.R) West Division. I am informed by the Commissioner that the number of Gardaí assigned to that Division on 31 May 2018, the latest date for which information is readily available, was 671, of whom 68 are community Gardaí. There are also 26 Garda Reserves and 55 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.
This Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and to deter crime. To achieve this the Government has put in place a plan for an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians. We are making real, tangible progress on achieving this goal.
I am informed by the Commissioner that since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, just over 1,960 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide of whom 194 were assigned to the D.M.R. West Division including 39 from the recent attestation which took place on the 15 June. Garda numbers, taking account of retirements, increased to 13,551 at the end of 2017 – a net increase of over 600 since the end of 2016.
I am pleased that funding is in place to maintain this high level of investment in the Garda workforce to ensure that the vision of an overall workforce of 21,000 by 2021 remains on track. This year a further 800 new Garda Recruits will enter the Garda College. In total, 800 Garda trainees are scheduled to attest during the year, 400 of whom have attested to date. Further, Garda numbers, taking account of projected retirements, are on track to reach 14,000 by the end of 2018.
In addition, a further 500 civilians will also be recruited to fill critical skills gaps across the organisation and to facilitate the redeployment of Gardaí from administrative and technical duties to front-line operational duties. There are plans to strengthen the Garda Reserve with new Reserves expected to commence training in 2018.
This focus on investment in personnel is critical. The moratorium on recruitment introduced in 2010 resulted in a significant reduction in the strength of An Garda Síochána. We are now rebuilding the organisation and providing the Commissioner with the resources needed to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí across every Division, including the D.M.R. West Division.
In relation to the number of "Community Gardaí” it is important to recognise that community policing 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 as a “Community Garda" simply refers to those who are exclusively assigned to building relationships with local communities including through the giving of 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.
I am assured by the Commissioner that the Garda National Model of Community Policing plays a key part in responding to crime by taking into account and responding to local conditions and needs. Overall the Model advocates a partnership based, pro-active, community-orientated style of policing. It is focused on crime prevention, problem-solving and law enforcement, with a view to building trust and enhancing the quality of life of the entire community. Clear objectives are set, such as high visibility in the community, ease of contact by members of the public, and enhanced support for crime prevention strategies.
As part of the Community Policing Model An Garda Síochána work in partnership with local communities, to prevent and deter crime through initiatives such as Neighbourhood Watch, Community Alert, Text Alert and the Garda Schools Programme as well as through more formal structures such as Joint Policing Committees.
The Community Policing Model also places a strong emphasis on Crime Prevention and within each Garda Division, where there are specialist Crime Prevention Officers (CPOs), who are trained to encourage, promote and advise on crime prevention within communities.
In addition, the National Community Policing Office, attached to the Garda Community Engagement Bureau, captures best practice in community policing initiatives and disseminates these practices through its communication network.
For the Deputy's information, I have set out in the following table the number of Gardaí, Garda Reserves and Community Gardaí assigned to Clondalkin, Lucan, Ronanstown, Ballyfermot and Rathcoole Garda Stations as of 31 May 2018, the latest date for which figures are readily available.
Number of Garda, Community Garda and Garda Reserves as of 31 May 2018
|Stations||Total number of Gardaí - each Garda has a role in community policing||No. who are exclusively engaged in Community Gardaí||Reserve Gardaí|