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Question

118. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of extra gardaí likely to become available throughout the regions, including community gardaí, arising from recent graduations from the Garda college; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50018/18]

121. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the degree to which Garda numbers in each division are likely to be enhanced following recent graduations from Templemore; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50021/18]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 118 and 121 together.
As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.
The Deputy is aware that the moratorium on Garda Recruitment introduced in 2009 resulted in a reduction in Garda numbers across the organisation. Since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, almost 2,200 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide.
I look forward to attending the attestation of another 200 recruits tomorrow which will see Garda numbers reach 14,000 by the end of this year. This and ongoing recruitment will clearly provide the Commissioner with the resources to increase Garda visibility in our communities and to support all Garda activity including community policing.
In relation to the allocation of newly attested Gardaí, it is important to note that these probationer Gardaí have a further 16 months of practical and class-room based training to complete in order to receive their BA in Applied Policing. To ensure that they gain the breadth of policing experience required and are properly supervised, the Commissioner's policy is to allocate them to specially designated training stations which have the required training and development structures and resources in place, including trained Garda tutors and access to a permanently appointed supervisory Sergeant who is thoroughly familiar with their responsibilities under the training programme.
As the Deputy will be aware community policing is at the heart of An Garda Síochána. Every community, whether urban or rural, is recognised as having its own concerns and expectations and to that end every Garda member while carrying out their duties is considered a community Garda. The official categorisation of “Community Garda” refers to those who are exclusively assigned to building relationships with local communities which includes giving talks to schools and community groups. Each Divisional Chief Superintendent determines the optimum distribution of duties among the personnel available to him or her having regard to the profile of the area and its specific needs and therefore the number of Gardaí with the official designation of Community Garda can vary.
I am further advised that a New Community Policing Framework is currently being developed in the light of the recommendations in the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.
The information in relation to the allocation of Probationer Gardaí by Division and Station as provided by the Garda Commissioner is available on my Department’s website through the link:
Garda Deployment
The information in relation to the number of Community Gardaí by Division in each of the years 2008 as to 31 October 2018, the latest date for which figures are available is available on my Department’s website through the link:
Garda Strength
For more general information on Garda Facts and Figures please see the link:
http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/An_Garda_Siochana_facts_and_figures.