536. Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Justice the current strength of the Garda Reserve by rank; the establishment of the Garda Reserve by rank; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43306/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Commissioner is responsible, under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 (as amended), for the management of An Garda Síochána as well as the allocation and distribution of resources. This includes responsibility for the recruitment, training and deployment of Garda members and members of the Garda Reserve. As Minister, I have no responsibility in these matters. I am assured however that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review, in the context of crime trends and policing priorities, to ensure their optimum use.
As the Deputy is aware the Garda Reserve is a voluntary, unpaid body drawn from the community to assist the existing Service at times when extra personnel are required. I am informed by the Garda authorities that there is no rank structure within the Garda Reserve, each Reserve Garda is assigned to either a regular, events or community policing unit in their assigned Garda station. I am further advised that there are currently 447 Garda Reserves.
The Deputy may wish to note that the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland concluded that the Garda Reserve programme is not utilised to its full potential. The Commission recommended that future recruitment to the Garda Reserve should be paused, pending the outcome of a comprehensive strategic review, in order to examine how best to structure the Garda Reserve to meet the needs of An Garda Síochána. I am advised that this review has been concluded, and will be engaging with the Commissioner in respect of its implementation and the further development of this important resource.