287. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of community gardaí in each Garda district; the population served by each district; and the way in which these staffing levels compare with the same period in 2008. [39790/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): 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.
Community policing is at the heart of An Garda Síochána. It provides a means of recognising that every community – both urban and rural – has its own concerns and expectations. That is why it is important to recognise that the role of a community Garda 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 and civil society including giving 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.
The information requested by the Deputy in relation to the population served by each Garda District is not readily available in my Department as the recording of the population by area is a matter for the Central Statistics Office.
The material is not compiled in such a manner as to allow me to provide you with the number of Community Gardaí in each district, by way of assistance the information in relation to the number of Community Gardaí by Division in each of the years from 2008 to 31 August 2018, the latest date for which figures are currently available as provided by the Garda Commissioner, is available on my Department’s website through the link below.
For more general information on Garda Facts and Figures please see www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/An_Garda_Siochana_facts_and_figures.