Chief Superintendent Gerard Roche
Garda numbers in county Kildare are increasing but they remain well below target, a meeting of the County Kildare Joint Policing Committee has been told.
The most recent figures show that the county had 333 Gardai which represents one for every 667 people.
This remains lower than the State average. “This is significantly lower than we would like it to be,” Chief Superintendent, Gerard Roche, told the meeting at Kildare County Council’s HQ in Naas on Monday, May 29.
Ideally, the Gardai would like to see the number rise to 406.
Of the 333 current Gardai, 49 are Sergeants and three are Superintendents.
Of the three divisions, Naas has the largest number of members at around 117, but the meeting was told that Naas housed a number of centralized services.
This included the Road Traffic section which has one Sergeant and 18 Gardai.
The Kildare division has around 111 Gardai and the Leixlip division around 95.
There's been some good news for the Gardai in recent times with increased number of Probationary Gardai coming out of Templemore.
But CS Roche said there was a danger the county could have too many of these and have only one experienced officer in a group of four or five.
“If Templemore said ‘I would give you 80 (Probationary Gardai)’ I don’t think I could take them.”
He said that if a Superintendent needed people he could bring them in on overtime but there was a budget limitation on this. He also said they had to have regard to the EU Working Time Directive.