District or local policing is the backbone of policing work, according to a new report by the Joint Committee on Justice & Equality.
Justice minister Charlie Flanagan told the Dáil yesterday that in this model, all police service personnel should be considered community police.
“All personnel will be part of a single district policing team working to keep communities safe, and all should see their overarching collective function as solving problems affecting community safety in their district,” the minister said.
Since February, An Garda Síochána (AGS) has been piloting the new local policing model in four Divisions – Mayo, Galway, Cork and DMR South.
The model has been designed to deliver more visible frontline policing and to ensure that resources are deployed to best effect.
It provides for a dedicated community engagement hub to ensure stronger coordination of resources and operations across garda divisions.
Forty gardai have been redeployed to frontline policing duties across the four pilot divisions.
The minister said that the committee hadraised the important issue of visibility of police in communities.
“Work on these priorities is progressing and I am informed that in the first three months of 2019, 75 gardaí were redeployed to frontline policing roles.
“This builds on the approximately 260 Gardaí redeployed to frontline policing duties at the end of 2018,” he said.
Since the beginning of 2017, some 480 civilian posts have also been sanctioned to support the delivery of police reform.
The bulk of these posts have filled critical skills gaps with a proportion sanctioned to facilitate the redeployment of gardaí to policing duties.
The number of sworn AGS members is now in excess of 14,000, with 200 more gardaí having attested on 7 June. A further 200 will attest before the end of this year.