27. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if her attention has been drawn to the fact that in 2014 and 2015, almost 200 gardaí will have availed of the incentivised career break scheme, as set out in the Public Service Stability Agreement 2013-2016, and those figures are being counted as actively serving officers when Garda staffing levels are reported; if this is misleading; if she will commit to including such figures in the future; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7120/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel and vehicles, among the Garda Regions, Divisions, and Districts. Garda management keep this distribution under continuing review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the best possible use is made of these resources.
I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the strength of the Garda Síochána on 31 December 2014, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 12,799. There were also 1,124 Garda Reserve members, with a further 48 in training. In addition, there were over 2,000 Garda civilian staff. As of 31 December 2014, the latest date for which figures are readily available, there were 98 members on Career Breaks which is included in the figure of 12,799. Members of An Garda Síochána availing of career breaks are not included in District or Station strengths. However the members are included in the overall strength of An Garda Síochána as they are entitled to return to their position.
Garda personnel assigned throughout the country, together with overall policing arrangements and operational strategy, are continually monitored and reviewed and this is determined by a number of factors including population, crime trends and as the policing needs of each individual division dictates. Such monitoring ensures that optimum use is made of Garda resources, and the best possible Garda service is provided to the general public.