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€21m in drugs seized, over 90 per cent public trust, and most Garda personnel in the history of the organisation: 2019 Garda Annual Report

An Garda Síochána grew to its largest ever personnel size, seized over €20m in drugs, introduced new technologies to prevent and detect crime, and implemented a number of initiatives to enhance its focus on human rights, according to the organisation’s 2019 Annual Report.

The 2019 An Garda Síochána’s Annual Report has been laid before the Houses of Oireachtas.

2019 was a year of progress for An Garda Síochána which saw further significant investment by Government in the service and many changes for the better under A Policing Service for our Future.

This includes the commencement of the new Garda Operating Model. The new model will see larger Divisions with more resources; increased Garda visibility in communities; a wider range of locally delivered policing services, and a strong focus on community policing.

Other highlights of 2019 were:

  • An Garda Síochána grew to have more personnel than at any time in our history with a total of 17,709.9 (working time equivalent), including 14,307 Garda members. • Over 340 Gardaí re-assigned to front-line duties • 92% public trust in An Garda Síochána (Q3 2019). This was the highest recorded trust level in An Garda Síochána in the last five years under the Public Attitudes Survey • Over €21m seized in drugs • Commencement of the roll-out of mobility devices to front-line members • Introduction of an Investigation Management System. • An increase in supervisors at Sergeant and Inspector ranks, with 125 promotions to Inspector and 169 promotions to Sergeant

Commissioner Drew Harris said: "The dedication and determination of Garda personnel to keeping people safe is evident throughout this report. From significant drug seizures, on-going reductions in burglaries, crime prevention initiatives, and daily community engagement.

"The results of this can be seen in the 2019 Garda Public Attitudes Survey. It found high levels of satisfaction with the service we provide and public trust of over 90 per cent.

An Garda Síochána’s role in securing the State during the year was also evident from major seizures of weaponary that degraded the capability of dissident groups, convictions for terrorism offences, and large-scale preparations for potential terrorist incidents.”

Under A Policing Service for our Future and in line with our obligations under the European Convention and Irish Law, An Garda Síochána implemented a number of initiatives in 2019 to move human rights to the centre of policing delivery.

Such initiatives included the publication of our Human Rights Strategy, the re-establishment of our Strategic Human Rights Advisory Council, the employment of an external human rights advisor and the setting-up of a Human Rights Unit.

An Garda Síochána also published its Diversity and Integration Strategy, 2019 – 2021. The strategy focuses on enhancing the identification, reporting, investigation and prosecution of hate crimes. It also included for the first time a policing definition of hate crime". 

Further highlights for 2019 included:

National Policing

  • Over €21m worth of drugs seized • Approx. €3.5m worth of property recovered • 14 assassinations thwarted / 18 firearms seized • 2,160 incidents attended by the Garda Air Support Unit

National Security & Intelligence

  • 4,390 higher-risk spontaneous incidents responded to by the Armed Support Unit (ASU) • Over 300 Refugees security screened by Special Detective Unit (SDU) personnel under the Government’s Irish Refugee Resettlement Programme • 98 hostage / barricade / suicide type incidents dealt with by Garda negotiators in 2019. • 11 people successfully convicted before the Special Criminal and Higher Courts.

Community Safety

  • 105 Garda Youth Diversion Projects operating nationwide which focus on diverting young people from reoffending. • Over 500 children from across Dublin participated in the DMR Garda/FAI Late Night Leagues • Over 50 Campus Watch Schemes • More than 100 young people recognised in the first ever Garda National Youth Awards

Cross-Organisation Services

  • 14,307 Gardaí / 2,944.9 Garda Staff / 458 Reserves • Over 1m social media followers • 4,113 Scene of Crime case files / 923 Crime Scene identifications made • Garda Information Services Centre (GISC) received 763,000 calls and created 877,000 incidents on the PULSE system on behalf of Gardaí. • 487,683 vetting applications processed at the Garda National Vetting Bureau, with an average turnaround time of 3 days.

The 2019 Annual Report of An Garda Síochána is available at Garda.ie   The 2019 Garda Annual Report was approved by the Policing Authority and has been laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas.