Justice | To ask the Minister for Justice the extent to which crime levels in County Kildare continue to be manageable
To ask the Minister for Justice the extent to which crime levels in County Kildare continue to be manageable; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
As the Deputy will be aware, the Central Statistics Office publishes reported crime figures under reservation on a quarterly basis, currently available up to Q4 2021. A brief synopsis of trends indicates the reduction in incident levels that were seen during 2020 and 2021, whilst COVID-19 restrictions were in place, have seen a consequential increase as society returns to normal pre-pandemic activity.
There has been a significant decrease in burglary and related offences in Kildare since 2019. I also note the decrease in public order and other social code offences in Kildare over the same period and that driving/in charge of a vehicle while over legal alcohol limits is also down on previous years.
Controlled drug offences in Kildare have risen over the last year.While I am concerned to see this increase, we must recognise that it also reflects the increased Garda numbers on frontline policing duties and the concentrated work of the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) to detect these offences.
The Deputy may be aware that, on 2 July 2021, An Garda Síochána commenced an enhanced national anti-drugs strategy, Operation Tara, which has a strong focus on tackling street-level dealing throughout rural and urban Ireland.
The focus of Operation Tara is to disrupt, dismantle and prosecute drug trafficking networks, at all levels – international, national and local – involved in the importation, distribution, cultivation, production, local sale and supply of controlled drugs.
Gardaí recently seized over €1.5 million of suspected drugs, €39,750 in cash and arrested one man, following search operations conducted as part of Operation Tara in Counties Kildare and Meath on 7 May 2022.
As the Deputy will appreciate, in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the management and administration of An Garda Síochána, which includes decisions on the deployment of personnel among the various Garda Divisions.
The budget provided by Government to the Garda Commissioner continues to increase to unprecedented levels, with an allocation in excess of €2 billion for 2022. This significant investment demonstrates the Government’s commitment to increasing the Garda workforce to enable the organisation to keep our communities safe, including in Kildare, and to preventing crime in all its forms.
As of 30 April 2022, the latest date for when figures are available, the Kildare Division has 435 Garda members of all ranks assigned. This includes 362 Gardaí, 61 Sergeants, 9 Inspectors and 3 Superintendents. This is a 39% increase since the end of 2015, when there were 312 members assigned to Kildare division.
Garda members in Kildare division are supported by 35 Garda Staff, which is a 17% increase on the 30 Garda Staff assigned to Kildare in 2015. This increase in Garda staff numbers means that additional Gardaí can be redeployed from administrative to operational policing duties, where their training and policing expertise can be used to best effect.
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