The Government’s Five Year Reform and High-level Workforce Plan envisages an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 people by 2021 to be comprised of 15,000 Garda members, 4,000 civilians and 2,000 Reserves. The overall number of personnel available to An Garda Síochána at the end of March 2017 was close to 16,000 comprising 13,090 Gardaí, 658 Garda Reserve members and over 2,000 civilians.

 

Garda recruitment

Garda strength peaked in 2009 when recruitment stopped due to the public sector recruitment moratorium. Numbers fell each year from 2010 to 2014. Recruitment recommenced in 2014 leading to numbers stabilising in 2015 and they are now on an upward trend with the strength expected to increase to 13,500 by the end of 2017- an increase of 700 since recruitment resumed.

 

Garda Strength 2009-2016

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

14,547

14,377

13,894

13,424

13,159

12,799

12,816

12,943

 

Taking account of projected retirements, reaching a strength of 15,000 Gardaí by 2021 (as per the Programme for a Partnership Government) will require some 2,400 new members to be recruited on a phased basis over the next three years in addition to the 2,000 that will have been recruited by the end of 2017. So far this year there have been two intakes of 200 Garda trainees with a further two intakes scheduled for August and November, giving a total intake of 800 for the year. The projected figures for the coming years in order to reach 15,000 Gardaí by 2021 are as follows:

 

Projected Garda Strength 2016-2021

 

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

Intake

 

650

800

800

800

800

300

Attestations

 

390

900

800

800

800

700

Departures

 

263

300

300

300

300

300

Net increase

 

125

600

500

500

500

400

Total

12,816

12,943

13,543

14,043

14,543

15,043

15,443

Assumptions:

300 members retire each year from 2018  to 2021 - further analysis of this projection is ongoing

Four intakes of 200 Trainee Garda Each  Year from 2017 to 2020 with reduced in-take in 2021 to take account of departures.

 

Reserve recruitment

There has been a substantial reduction in the strength of the Garda Reserve in recent years from a peak of 1,164 in 2013 to 658 currently. The fall-off arises from a range of factors, not least the lifting in 2014 of the moratorium on recruitment of trainee Gardaí which has affected Reserve numbers in two ways - firstly some 200 serving Reserves have successfully applied to become trainee Gardaí and, secondly, resources in both An Garda Síochána and in the Public Appointment Service have been focused on delivering an accelerated programme of recruitment of full time members of An Garda Síochána. In order to reach the target of 2,000 Reserves by 2021, approximately 300 Reserves will need to be recruited each year.

Budget 2017 has provided funding for the recruitment of 300 Garda Reserves this year. A new recruitment campaign for Garda Reserves which closed on 13 April attracted 2,394 applicants.  The Public Appointments Service is undertaking the selection process on behalf of the Garda Commissioner.

 

Civilian recruitment

At present, there are approximately 2,000 civilians working in the Garda organisation carrying out senior management, administrative and technical roles. The Government plan to have 4,000 civilians working in An Garda Síochána by 2021 will effectively double this figure and represents a medium term target of an organisation 20% comprised of civilians. This will bring An Garda Síochána, currently 14% comprised of civilians, more in line with international norms and ensure that trained Gardaí are not engaging in administrative and technical duties which could be done by suitably qualified civilian staff.

 

This 20% target will be achieved through a twin-track approach of

  1. a “civilian by default” policy to be adopted in relation to the filling of all new posts other than operational policing posts and for non-operational policing posts that become vacant, and

  2. the redeployment of Gardaí and backfilling by suitably qualified civilians where necessary.

 

In its Changing Policing in Ireland report, The Garda Inspectorate has estimated that there may be up to 1,250 Gardaí currently in such posts and the Government’s plan aims to return as many of these Gardaí as possible to front-line duties over the next five years. With this in mind, the Garda Commissioner, in conjunction with the Policing Authority, has been requested to identify posts suitable for redeployment and to prepare a 5 year plan for reaching the 20% medium term target.

 

To support the implementation of this vision, Budget 2017 provided funding for the recruitment of up to 500 civilians. The recruitment and appointment of these additional civilians will facilitate the Commissioner in addressing capacity and critical skills gaps across the organisation including in corporate supports, change management, human resources, ICT and financial management at the national, regional and Divisional levels, and also to begin the phased redeployment of Gardaí to front-line policing roles. These additional resources will make an important contribution to the delivery of the ambitious reform agenda set out in the Commissioner's Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016-2021 and will facilitate deeper civilianisation in the coming years.