COMMUNITY POLICING SHOULD BE PRIORITISED IN WEST DUBLIN

19 January 2017

Labour TD for Dublin West, Joan Burton has expressed concern about a lack of community policing in West Dublin, following a spate of crime in the area and in particular the recent violent death in Lucan.

Responding to Parliamentary Questions from Deputy Burton today, the Minister for Justice acknowledged that there are only six Community Gardaí in Lucan, seven in Clondalkin and 28 in Blanchardstown.

Deputy Burton commented:

“Given the enormous growth in population in these areas, it is clear that they are under represented in regards to having sufficient Community Gardai. This is a serious concern for local residents.

“I am particularly concerned about the implications of criminal activity for young people. Many successful visits by Community Gardaí to schools and youth groups are key to developing a trusting relationship between Gardaí and young people.

“Both the Minister and Garda Commissioner need to review Community Gardaí allocations and funding towards community Gardaí or else the presence of the valuable service provided by Community Gardaí will slip below the radar”.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS:

QUESTION NOS: 112 & 113

DÁIL QUESTIONS addressed to the Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald)
by Deputy Joan Burton
for WRITTEN on Tuesday, 17th January, 2017.

* 112. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Gardaí allocated to the Lucan district; the number of Community Gardaí assigned to that district; the number of new recruits assigned to the district; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

– Joan Burton

* 113. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Gardaí allocated to the Clondalkin Garda district; the number of Community Gardaí assigned to that district; the number of new recruits assigned to Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

– Joan Burton

REPLY.
As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner 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. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources. I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that in regard to the deployment of Garda personnel, a distribution model is used which takes into account all relevant factors including population, crime trends and the policing needs of each individual Garda Division. It is the responsibility of the Divisional Officer to allocate personnel within his/her Division.

The Lucan and Clondalkin Garda Districts form part of the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) West Division and I am informed that on the 30 November 2016, the latest date for which figures are readily available, the Garda strength of the Lucan District was 164, of whom 6 were Community Gardaí and the strength of the Clondalkin District was 197, of whom 7 were Community Gardaí.

When appropriate, the work of local Gardaí is supported by a number of Garda national units such as the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI), the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (formerly the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation) and the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.

This Government is committed to ensuring visible, effective and responsive policing throughout the country in order to strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and prevent crime. To make this a reality for all, the Government has in place a plan to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians. In 2017, funding has been provided for the recruitment of 800 Garda recruits and up to 500 civilians to support the wide ranging reform plan in train in An Garda Síochána. Appointments will also be made to the Garda Reserve of approximately 300.

Taking account of projected retirements, reaching a strength of 15,000 members will require some 3,200 new Garda members to be recruited on a phased basis over the next four years in addition to the 1,200 that have been recruited since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014. So far 679 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream uniform duties nationwide, including 62 to the DMR West Division. I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that another 900 trainee Garda are scheduled to attest in 2017 which will bring Garda numbers to around the 13,500 mark by year end.

The focus on investment in personnel is critical. While it is the case, as advised by the Commissioner, that all Gardaí have a role to play in addressing community policing issues as and when the need arises and, in that sense, community policing involves far more than a single unit within An Garda Síochána, the moratorium on recruitment introduced in 2010 resulted in a significant reduction in the number of dedicated Community Gardaí throughout the state. We are now rebuilding the Garda Síochána and providing the Commissioner with the resources she needs to allow her to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí including Community Gardaí across every Garda Division, in the coming years.

This investment in personnel is complemented by substantial investment in resources across the board for An Garda Síochána. The Deputy will be aware of the significant resources that have been made available to An Garda Síochána under the Government’s Capital Plan 2016 – 2021. In particular, some €205 million in additional funding for Garda ICT and €46 million for new Garda vehicles has been allocated over the lifetime of the plan. This investment will facilitate the provision of more effective policing services and I have no doubt that these new resources now coming on stream will see an increase in Garda visibility in our communities.

QUESTION NO: 59

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald)
by Deputy Joan Burton
for WRITTEN ANSWER on Thursday, 8th December, 2016.

* To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Gardaí allocated to the Blanchardstown Garda division; the number of community Gardaí assigned to that district; the number of new recruits assigned to Dublin 15; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

– Joan Burton

REPLY.
As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner 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. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.

I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that in regard to the deployment of Garda personnel, a distribution model is used which takes into account all relevant factors including population, crime trends and the policing needs of each individual Garda Division. It is the responsibility of the Divisional Officer to allocate personnel within his/her Division.

Blanchardstown Garda District forms part of the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) West Division. I am further informed that the Garda strength of the Blanchardstown Garda District, on the 31 October 2016, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 312 of which 28 are Community Gardaí. When appropriate, the work of local Gardaí is supported by a number of Garda national units such as the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI), the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (formerly the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation) and the Garda National Drugs and Organise Crime Bureau.

The Commissioner has advised that it is the case that all Gardaí have a role to play in addressing community policing issues as and when the need arises. In that sense, community policing involves far more than a single unit within An Garda Síochána. Community policing is at the heart of An Garda Síochána. It provides a means of recognising that every community – both urban and rural – has its own concerns and expectations. In this regard I welcome the strong emphasis placed by the Commissioner’s Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016-2021 on further developing and supporting the community policing ethos of the organisation so that Gardaí spend more time in the community, gaining public confidence and trust and providing a greater sense of security. Proposed initiatives include the establishment of local Community Policing Teams (CPTs) headed by an Inspector and made up of Gardaí from across a range of areas to proactively work with the community to prevent and detect crime; and the establishment of Community Safety Fora in every District comprising local Gardaí, local communities and key stakeholders.

This Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime. To make this a reality for all, the Government has in place a plan to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians. In 2017, funding has been provided for the recruitment of 800 Garda recruits and up to 500 civilians to support the wide ranging reform plan in train in An Garda Síochána. Appointments will also be made to the Garda Reserve of approximately 300.

Taking account of projected retirements, reaching a strength of 15,000 will require some 3,200 new Garda members to be recruited on a phased basis over the next four years in addition to the 1,200 that will have been recruited by the end of this year since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014. This is an ambitious target and will require a continuous pipeline of suitable candidates. I am pleased to say that the recruitment campaign launched by the
Public Appointments Service on behalf of the Commissioner last September, the second campaign this year, again received a strong response.

I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that since the reopening of the Garda College, 679 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide including 62 to the DMR West Division.

Stay up to date

Receive our latest updates in your inbox.
Sign up for updates

Follow us

Connect with us on social media