290. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí assigned to each divisional drugs unit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5587/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy is aware, the manner in which the resources of the Garda Síochána are deployed is solely a matter for the Garda Commissioner and his management team and I, as Minister, have no direct role in this regard. I am, however, informed by the Commissioner that the additional resources coming on stream has enabled him to assign resources to the Specialist Bureaus that come within the ambit of Special Crime Operations which includes the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau. This Bureau leads on the strategy for tackling drugs and works with Garda Divisional Drug Units nationwide in demand reduction and supply reduction at local level.
An Garda Síochána remains resolute in its determination to act against those within society who pose a significant threat to the welfare and well-being of our citizens and the communities they serve. All Gardaí have a responsibility in the prevention and detection of criminal activity whether it be in the area of drug offences crime or otherwise. A core focus of the work carried out by An Garda Síochána is aimed at tackling drugs and organised crime
Since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, just under 2,400 Garda recruits have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide, including 800 in 2018.
The Government increased An Garda Síochána's budget to €1.76 billion in 2019, which includes provision for the recruitment of up to 800 Gardaí. The Commissioner has informed me that he plans to recruit a total of 600 trainee Gardaí in 2019 and, in addition, he intends to recruit a net 600 Garda Civilian Staff. The Garda Staff recruitment will allow the Commissioner to redeploy a further 500 fully trained Gardaí from administrative duties to front-line policing in 2019.
The Government fully supports the Commissioner’s management decision which will ensure that increasing numbers of gardaí are available for front-line duties in the prevention and detection of criminal activity whether it be in the area of drug offences crime or otherwise in 2019 and beyond.
Information in relation to Drugs Unit Personnel at the Divisional level, as provided by the Garda Commissioner, is set out in the following table.
Drugs Unit Personnel 31/12/2018
For more general information on Garda Facts and Figures please see the link below