Dáil Éireann - Volume 632 - 22 February, 2007

Written Answers. - Garda Strength.

Mr. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when Garda strength at all stations throughout County Kildare will be sufficiently increased to ensure adequate policing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7062/07]

  Mr. McDowell: I have been informed by the Garda authorities, who are responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, that the personnel strength (all ranks) of An Garda Síochána increased to a record 13,000 following the attestation of 299 new members on Thursday, 16 November, 2006. This compares with a total strength of 10,702 (all ranks) as at 30 June, 1997 and represents an increase of 2,298 (or 21.5%) in the personnel strength of the Force during that period. The combined strength (all ranks), of both attested Gardaí and recruits in training as at the 31 December 2006 was 14,068. Furthermore, I should say that in December, 2006 as part of a package of anti-crime measures, the Government approved the continuation of the existing Garda recruitment programme to achieve a total Garda strength of 15,000. The accelerated intake of approximately 1100 new recruits per annum into the Garda College will continue, until this target is met. The Garda Budget now stands at €1.4 billion, an 11% increase on 2006 and a 96% increase since 1997 in real terms.

I have been further informed by the Garda authorities that the personnel strength of the Carlow/Kildare Division on 31 December, 1997 and 20 February, 2007 (all ranks) was 281 and 370 respectively. This represents an increase of 89 (or 31.6%).

I should add that it is the responsibility of Garda management to allocate personnel to and within Divisions. These personnel allocations are determined by a number of factors including demographics, crime trends and other operational policing needs. Such allocations are continually monitored and reviewed along with overall policing arrangements and operational strategy. This ensures that optimum use is made of Garda resources, and that the best possible service is provided to the public.

The next allocation of probationer Gardaí is scheduled to take place on 14 March, 2007. The needs of the Carlow/Kildare will be considered in this allocation.

Garda personnel assigned throughout the country, together with overall policing arrangements and operational strategy are continually [564] monitored and reviewed. Such monitoring ensures that optimum use is made of Garda resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the general public.

Mr. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when he expects Leixlip Garda station will have a full range of services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7063/07]

  Mr. McDowell: I am informed by the Garda authorities that the new City Type Station Garda station for Leixlip is scheduled for completion in Autumn 2008.

In general terms, City Type Stations consists of reception, interview rooms, detention facilities, vehicle storage capacity, juvenile accommodation facilities as well as accommodation for Garda personnel. It is the responsibility of Garda management to allocate personnel to particular stations on a priority basis in accordance with the requirements of different areas. These personnel allocations are determined by a number of factors including demographics, crime trends and other operational policing needs. Accordingly, it will be a matter for Garda management to determine the precise services to be provided from the new station before occupation.