Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has expressed his concern at the low numbers of Gardaí currently deployed as community Garda in the County. In the last five years we have witnessed a gradual erosion of Garda resources being deployed in the community, to the point where there almost 60% less Gardaí deployed as community officers in 2022, than there were in 2017.
“Community policing is the heart of policing. It is the point where young people develop a relationship with community officers. It is where local Gardaí get to know their community. It is the key to crime prevention.
That we now have a situation where we have the lowest number of Gardaí deployed as community officers in almost a decade, can only be described as very concerning.
The fact that there are 60% less Gardaí deployed as community officers now than there was five years ago, is simply not good enough. How can the Gardaí be expected to develop and maintain a relationship with a community with less than half the resources deployed to that end today than they had in 2017. In 2017 there were 14 community Gardaí in Wicklow, however now there are only 6.
The Government claim that community policing is fundamental to the new Garda Operating Model, as recommended by the Commission on the Future of Policing. Yet surely the slashing of Garda numbers dedicated to the building of relationships with local communities, of giving talks to schools, community groups and others can hardly be described as being conducive to this end.
We need more community Garda, not less. We need assurances from the Government, and Garda management that they recommit resources to a role within the community, that they commit to developing the relationship between the Garda and local communities. That the Government honour its commitments under the Government implementation plan for the Garda – ‘A Policing Service for Our Future.”