New teams of dedicated community Gardaí to help build stronger, safer communities and tackle anti-social behaviour will be rolled out across the country by the end of next year, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has announced.

New Community Policing Areas will be created nationwide by An Garda Síochána with a dedicated Community Garda given responsibility for each new area, the minister said today (Saturday, November 19).

Communities will be able to identify and contact their Community Garda via the Garda Síochána website and address issues of local concern such as anti-social behaviour, crime prevention and community safety.

Announcing the reforms Minster McEntee said high-visibility policing is at the core of building stronger, safer communities. She continued:

“I believe having new, dedicated community Gardaí serving and helping local people and needs will be hugely welcomed.

“It is a real and tangible demonstration of our commitment to resource, strengthen and reform An Garda Síochána to better serve communities, tackle crime and increase safety across Ireland.”

Each Community Garda will have a responsibility to be highly visible, active and accessible in their allocated areas, and to engage with local people, groups and businesses.

Community Gardaí

Under the reforms being implemented in An Garda Síochána, and to be completed by the end of 2023, each of the 19 Garda divisions will be broken down into a number of Community Policing Areas.

The individual areas will be determined by An Garda Síochána, and each division will have a number of Community Engagement Teams consisting of an inspector, a sergeant and the dedicated community Gardaí.

In addition to the community Gardaí having responsibility for their own local areas, they will also be able to support other Garda teams within their divisions as required, the minister said.

These reforms will complement the ongoing recruitment into An Garda Síochána, according to Minister McEntee, who secured funding for 1,000 new recruits entering the Garda College in Templemore next year.

The minister also confirmed that a new Garda recruitment campaign will open next year to ensure there is a steady flow of 200 recruits entering Templemore every three months. She said:

“I am clear that our target to have 15,000 Gardaí is not a ceiling. I want to strengthen An Garda Síochána even further, and that is why it is vitally important that we have regular recruitment campaigns and a steady intake of recruits into Templemore.”

The changes are a result of the new Garda Operating Model now in place, and also free up more Gardaí from desk and administrative work, according to Minister McEntee.

Since 2017, almost 900 Gardaí have been reassigned from administrative to frontline duties and 400 Garda civilian staff will be recruited next year to put more Gardaí back on the frontline.