Dáil Éireann - Volume 475 - 20 February, 1997
Written Answers. - Garda Deployment.
Ms. Shortall Ms. Shortall
102. Ms. Shortall asked the Minister for Justice the current status of the Garda Dóchas initiative; the effect of the initiative to date; the plans, if any, for the future; the number of gardaí who are deployed in drugs work, specifically in the Dublin metropolitan area and in the rest of the country; and the percentage of total gardaí which this represents in each case. [4804/97]
Minister for Justice (Mrs. Owen) Nora Owen
Minister for Justice (Mrs. Owen): The operation Dóchas initiative commenced in the Dublin metropolitan area on 7 October 1996 and involves intensive policing by uniformed gardaí in areas of the city where there is greatest demand for a Garda presence.
Members employed on the Dóchas initiative are primarily concerned with drugs related activity and these members are supported in this work by dedicated drug task units in each district in the Dublin metropolitan area. It is important to note however that all members of the force have a responsibility for the enforcement of the drug laws. The underlying philosophy underpinning operation Dóchas is that close contact and co-operation with the community is essential to tackle the level of drug abuse in those communities most affected by the problem.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that this initiative was reviewed in January 1997 and is considered successful in the context of the large number of successful searches carried out, the consequent number of seizures and arrests and prosecutions since its inception. Based on its effectiveness, from October 1996 to January 1997, a decision has been taken that operation Dóchas will continue for the foreseeable future in its present format.
In other cities and larger towns outside the DMA, all policing is carried out by the members attached to local stations who have received adequate training in the investigation of all criminal matters both during their initial training and at regular in-service training courses thereafter. In some of the cities i.e. Cork, Limerick and Waterford, these members are backed up by dedicated drug units.
The deployment of gardaí to meet local policing needs is constantly assessed by local Garda management in each district throughout the country. Local circumstances and local needs in any specific element of criminal activity will vary from district to district and Garda management is satisfied that the present strategy is adequate and  sufficiently flexible to meet the many and varied demands on Garda resources.
Dáil Éireann 475 Written Answers. Garda Deployment.