924. Deputy Martin Browne asked the Minister for Justice if there is an optimal ratio of Garda personnel per member of the public; if Garda figures are based upon population or geographic area; and the way the number of gardaí currently serving compares to the optimum number. [42608/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The 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.
As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is by law responsible for the distribution of Garda personnel and resources. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities, to ensure their optimum use.
I am advised by the Garda authorities that when consideration is given to the allocation of resources and in facilitating transfers of personnel to/from any Division, account is given to commitments and undertakings outlined in the Annual Policing Plan. In the context of the requirements of all Garda Divisions nationwide, the following factors are also accounted for: local and national crime trends and workloads; policing arrangements and operational strategies; minimum establishment statistics; local population and trends, geographical area and size; transfer applications, including welfare / personnel issues and concerns.
To ensure the continued level of delivery of policing services within Garda Divisions, local and senior Garda management are also consulted during the allocation of personnel and are responsible for the specific deployment / assignment of duties being undertaken at Divisional level. The situation remains closely monitored by the Garda Senior Leadership Team, particularly in view of commitments to the continued roll-out of the Operating Model of policing at Divisional level to ensure optimum use of all Garda Resources in providing the best possible Garda service to the community.