Cork police strength falls despite 1,200 new gardaí

Cork police strength falls despite 1,200 new gardaí

THE number of Gardaí in Cork City has dropped in the last two years, despite the recruitment of 1,200 new members of the force.

The fall in garda strength, while recruitment takes place, has been described as “scandalous” by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.

In August 2015 there were 657 Gardaí across the Anglesea Street, Togher, Mayfield, and Gurranabraher districts, but that dropped by 11 to 646 in May of this year.

That coincides with a drop of more than €2 million spent on policing Cork city between 2015 and 2016.

Mr Martin, who obtained the Garda numbers through a parliamentary question, said that Cork had been forgotten about when it came to distributing newly trained Gardaí.

“Since Templemore College was reopened in 2014, a full 1,200 Gardaí have graduated, and been deployed to stations up and down the country.

“It would be reasonable to assume that the State’s second largest city would have received a significant proportion of these new Gardaí,” he said.

Mr Martin said that Cork will suffer if the Minister for Justice does not divert staffing resources towards Cork.

“These local communities will suffer, I believe, as a result. We want to see Gardaí on the frontline protecting communities. However, with cuts in force numbers, communities will see fewer and fewer Gardaí on their streets.

“The Minister for Justice needs to ensure that the Garda Commissioner is aware that it’s a government priority to increase Garda numbers in Cork City. If it's not a Government priority, then we have a problem. There is no logic in seeing Cork Garda numbers fall,” concluded Martin.

Figures released to the Evening Echo under the Freedom of Information Act show that the spend on policing in Cork City dropped by more than €2.2 million last year.

More than €48.3 million euro was spent policing the city during 2015 but this figure was just over €46 million last year, the figures show.

This figure includes salaries and allowances, travel and incidental expenses, training, postal and telecommunications services, office equipment, maintenance of Garda premises, consultancy services, station services and Garda reserves.

Garda personnel, policing arrangements and operational strategies throughout the country are dependant on a number of factors “including population, crime trends and as the policing needs of each individual division dictates,”according to the FOI document.

An Garda Siochána did not provide a comment on these issues by the time of going to print.

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