120. Deputy Emer Higgins asked the Minister for Justice the number of Garda civilian staff now supporting An Garda Síochána and enabling the redirection of Garda members to frontline services. [51275/21]

145. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Justice the number of gardaí that have been freed up from administrative duties in recent years in order to undertake frontline policing; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51662/21]


Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): I propose to take Questions Nos. 120 and 145 together.
As the Deputies will be aware, the Garda Commissioner is by law responsible for the management and control of An Garda Síochána. This includes responsibility for the allocation of Garda resources. I have no direct role in these matters.
I understand that as of 30 September 2021, there are now 3,382 Garda staff (civilians) within An Garda Síochána.
I further understand that significant progress continues to be made in relation to the civilianisation process within the organisation. As of 27 September, 820 Garda members have been released from posts not requiring Garda powers or expertise and their duties reassigned to Garda staff. This has in turn facilitated the redeployment of those Garda members to operational duties where their training and expertise can be used to best effect.
Budget 2022 provides for the recruitment of an additional 400 Garda staff and an additional 800 Garda members next year. These extra Garda staff will allow for a further freeing up of Gardaí for frontline duties, and enhance the capacity of the organisation through the recruitment of staff to specialist and other positions to support the investigation of crime and the management and development of the organisation. 
The Commissioner's implementation of the new Garda Operating Model also introduces major changes to the structures of An Garda Síochána by providing more front-line Gardaí, increased Garda visibility, and a wider range of policing services for people in their local area.  All services will be managed and co-ordinated at divisional level, to allow greater specialisation and to release Gardaí from back office functions.