302. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí per head of population by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23232/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of personnel and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.
I can assure the Deputy that this 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.
I am informed by the Commissioner that as of the 30 April 2019, the latest date for which data is available, the overall strength of An Garda Síochána was 14,126 with 508 Reserves and 2,659 Civilians.
Garda management keeps the distribution of Gardaí under review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities to ensure optimum use is made of resources. I am advised by the Commissioner that recent census data is incorporated into the personnel allocation model. I understand that Census information received on a specific county format is amended by the Garda Síochána Analysis Service to reflect Garda Divisional boundaries.
However, it is important to note that ratios such as the number of Gardaí per head of population are not an appropriate tool to use when considering the allocation of Garda resources as they fail to take account of the fact that crime levels and types can vary significantly among communities of similar population size. The information requested by the Deputy in relation to the number of Gardaí per head of population is therefore not collated.
I have been assured by the Garda Commissioner that Garda recruitment planned for 2019 will ensure that the Government's commitment to increasing the strength of An Garda Síochána to 15,000 Garda members by 2021 will be achieved.
Garda strength for each Division by station and rank, from 2009 to 30 April 2019 is available on my Department’s website through the following link.
For more general information on Garda Facts and Figures please see the following link.