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Question

284. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the priority outcomes from the implementation progress review of phase 1 of the nationwide roll-out of An Garda Síochána divisional protective services units. [41894/18]

285. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the locations of the phase 2 divisional protective services units rolled out in 2018; the remaining phases of the nationwide roll-out of such units in all Garda divisions; the location and number of personnel to be attached to each unit; and if the necessary accommodation is in place in each. [41895/18]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 284 and 285 together.
As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner has responsibility to manage and control generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána, including by arranging for the recruitment, training and appointment of its members and civilian staff. I, as Minister have no function in such matters.
As the Deputy will be aware under the Modernisation and Renewal Programme for An Garda Síochána, 2016-2021 Divisional units of Garda National Protective Services Bureau are being rolled-out in two phases, supported by the Garda National Protective Services Bureau. Phase One has now been completed, with Divisional Protective Services Units established in three Divisions, in the DMR West, Cork City, and Louth Division, where 2 Sergeants and 10 Gardaí were identified for allocation to the Divisional Unit.
Following a review of the Pilot, additional Divisional Protective Services Bureaus are now in the process of being established in DMR South Central; Waterford; Kerry; Kilkenny/Carlow; Limerick and Galway Garda Divisions before the end of Q4, 2018. It is intended that Divisional Protective Services Bureaus will be established in all remaining Garda Divisions before the end of 2019.
I am informed by the Commissioner that this initiative is being managed collaboratively between the Garda National Protective Services Bureau and each Divisional Officer. The pilot will inform the full roll-out to each Garda Division, by assessing and evaluating the Units initially selected including with reference to for example geographical size and population profile.
The Commissioner has further informed me that all Garda personnel receive training in the investigation of incidents considered domestic abuse, in all it’s forms, with additional training provided to Gardaí selected for duties as detectives. Similarly, additional and more specific training has been developed by the Director of Training with the senior management team at the Garda National Protective Services Bureau for the training to be provided to personnel selected for duty with the Divisional Protective Services Units, which have commenced in the three Garda divisions, DMR West, Cork City and Louth. Induction training has been provided for the personnel selected for these Units, with a briefing being provided to all relevant State Agencies and NGOs.
The Policing Authority submitted their Fifth Progress Report to me in June. This report was partly focused on providing an update on the implementation of the recommendations contained within the Garda Inspectorate’s report Changing Policing in Ireland, including the roll out of the pilot Divisional Protective Services Units. It is positive to note that the Policing Authority’s engagement with organisations that work with victims, as well as the recent Garda Inspectorate Report on Child Sexual Abuse, evidence the anticipated improvement in services for victims arising from the roll out of the Protective Services Units. In addition, it is to be welcomed that the Policing Authority has received positive feedback that the pilot PSUs have resulted in improved levels of service to victims and increased operational effectiveness in dealing with crimes of that nature.
The Deputy will also be aware that the recently published Commission on the Future of Policing report sees the establishment of Divisional Protective Services Units as a significant move in the right direction towards ensuring that services to victims’ rights are further embedded in the organisation’s processes.
Budget 2019 provides an unprecedented level of public funding of €1.76 billion for An Garda Síochána in 2019. This includes an in crease in the Garda capital allocation from €61 million to €92 million in 2019, a 50% increase. This will facilitate investment of around €65 million in ICT, a further €10 million investment in the Transport Fleet and €17 million in the Building Programme. This clearly demonstrates the Government’s commitment to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime.