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Question

809. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice the number of community Gardaí by rank attached to the R District as of 19 March 2019, 19 March 2020 and 19 March 2021 in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16842/21]

Answer

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): As the Deputy will appreciate, in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the management and administration of An Garda Síochána. Further, the allocation of Garda resources is made in light of identified operational demands. This includes deployment of personnel among the various Garda Divisions. As Minister, I have no direct role in the matter.
I am assured, however, that Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of policing priorities and crime trends, to ensure their optimum use. I understand that it is a matter for the Divisional Chief Superintendent to determine the optimum distribution of duties among the personnel available to him or her, having regard to the profile of each area within the Division and its specific needs.
To date, the official categorisation as a Community Garda has simply referred to those who are exclusively assigned to building relationships with local communities and civil society including giving talks to schools, community groups and others. However, it is important to note that community policing is at the heart of An Garda Síochána and that all Gardaí have a role to play in community policing in carrying out their duties. Indeed, this has never been more evident than in the work carried out by all members of the Gardaí as we have tackled the COVID-19 pandemic.
I am advised by the Garda authorities that the table below, which has been provided to me by the Garda authorities, sets out the number of Community Gardaí assigned to the 'R' District or Coolock District at 28 February 2019, 29 February 2020 and 28 February 2021.

Coolock District Garda Sergeant Total
28 February 2019 15 2 17
29 February 2020 11 2 13
28 February 2021 6 1 7


I am further advised that Garda Members attached to Community Policing Units were temporarily re-assigned to the Regular units at the commencement of the new roster introduced as part of the response by An Garda Síochána to Covid-19. This explains the decrease for February 2021. I am assured by the Garda authorities that members from the Community Policing Unit remain in contact with their contacts throughout the community, and have been providing valuable assistance to vulnerable persons throughout the crisis.
As the Deputy is aware, Coolock District forms part of the DMR North Division, I can inform the Deputy that at 28 February 2021, the latest date for which figures are available, there were 44 Community Gardaí assigned to the DMR North Division. This represents an increase of over 69% since December 2020 when there were 26 Community Gardaí assigned to the Division.
Detailed information in relation to Community Garda numbers is available on my Department’s website. This information is updated every month with the latest data provided by An Garda Síochána, at the following link:
http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/An_Garda_Siochana_facts_and_figures