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Question

271. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice the extent to which deployment of extra gardaí is positively impacting on crime levels in all areas throughout Ireland; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51934/21]

Answer

Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): As the Deputy will be aware, the budget provided by Government to the Garda Commissioner continues to increase to unprecedented levels, with an allocation of €1.952 billion for 2021. Budget 2022 provides over €2 billion in funding. Since 2016, the budget for An Garda Síochána has increased by approximately €500m, or 33%. This has enabled 1400 extra Gardaí to be deployed, as well as continued investment in modern equipment. In addition, we have freed up 800 Gardaí for front line policing work through the recruitment of Garda staff. 
As the Deputy may be aware, Covid-19 restrictions on the Garda Training College in Templemore constrained recruitment and training for periods over the last 18 months. However, I am glad to confirm that 450 Gardaí will be recruited this year and the funding provided for next year fully supports the sustained recruitment of Garda members and staff.
In particular, the funding announced last week includes provision for the recruitment of 800 new Garda recruits and 400 Garda staff in 2022 - an additional 1,200 personnel. This increase in the number of Garda members and staff will deliver significant growth in operational policing hours nationwide and improved services to the public generally.  Redeployment of Gardaí from administrative and support roles will also continue next year, thus allowing highly trained Gardaí to focus on frontline policing duties.  The organisation's capacity will be further strengthened by the recruitment of additional Garda staff, including to specialist roles to support the investigation of crime and enhance the management of the organisation .
As the Deputy will be aware, by law the detection of and response to any criminal activity is an operational matter for the Garda Commissioner, as laid down in the Garda Síochána Act 2005. As Minister, I have no direct role in such matters.
I am assured by the Commissioner that the distribution of resources among the various Garda Divisions across the State is kept under constant review, in light of emerging crime trends and operational needs.
The operational review of crime statistics, at a national and regional level, is also the responsibility of the Garda Commissioner under the Garda Síochána Act 2005. Again, I play no role in these independent functions.
The Deputy may be interested to note that the most recent available crime statistics, as published by the CSO on 29 September and covering the 12 months to the end of June 2021, are available on the CSO website.
It should also be noted, as highlighted in the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, that policing and crime prevention are not the responsibility of An Garda Síochána alone. Improving community safety requires a multi-sectoral approach, strong inter-agency collaboration and engagement from the community. To achieve this, three pilot Local Community Safety Partnerships have been established, before being rolled out nationwide with the anticipated enactment of the Policing, Security and Community Safety Bill. The partnerships will replace and expand the remit of the Joint Policing Committees by providing a forum for residents and community representatives, including representatives of youth, new communities and the voluntary sector and business and education representatives, along with the relevant State agencies, such as An Garda Síochána, the HSE, Tusla and others.
The Local Community Safety Partnerships will provide a dedicated communication channel for input and the development of Local Community Safety Plans to reflect and respond to the self-identified needs of that community.