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38% decrease in Community Gardaí shows Government have no interest in Community Policing – Ó Laoghaire

1 February, 2018 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has expressed his shock at the decrease in Community Gardaí in recent years.

The Cork South-Central TD said:

“The number of Community Gardaí in the force has fallen from 1112 in 2010 to only 691 in 2017, a decrease of some 38%. I am disgusted at this, and it shows that this Government and its predecessor have had and continue to have absolutely no interest in investing in Community Policing.

“The decline especially stark in some divisions, with the numbers in Dublin Metropolitan North Central falling from 140 to 90, Dublin Metropolitan Region South Central dropping from 99 to 30, a decrease in Waterford from 62 to 35, a fall in Limerick from 73 to 38, and in Donegal plummeting from 35 to 2.

“As elected representatives, we know from working with designated Community Gardaí that the difference a good community Garda can make to an area and to individuals and families is huge. It can be transformative. Community Gardaí can build up relationships and trust with people at risk of offending, particularly young people, and direct them in a more positive direction, such as through the Garda Youth Diversion Projects.

“They also improve public confidence in policing locally, and ingrain themselves in community activity locally. I have seen myself the difference that Community Gardaí can make.

“Failing to make these kinds of investments could undo the good work that was built up, particularly in disadvantaged communities, over many years.

“The National Model of Community Policing was launched in 2009, amid much fanfare, and it does represent a very positive approach. However, it has been ignored.

“It is increasingly clear that successive Governments have zero interest in Community Policing and is unwilling to invest in it. The fact that the number of Community Gardaí has fallen off a cliff, and indeed is still falling, is proof of that. It is scandalous. The Minister needs urgently to start reversing these decreases.” 

Note: Please see the Community Gardaí numbers by county attached

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