Kilkenny Garda division merges with Waterford in major shake-up of force
By COLIN BARTLEY
THE KILKENNY/Carlow garda division is to merge with the Waterford under new restructuring plans announced by the Garda commissioner today.
Kilkenny becomes part of the much larger Eastern region, alongside, Wexford, Waterford, Carlow, Kildare, Wicklow, Laois, Offaly, Meath and Westmeath. South Tipperary, from the old South Eastern region, will now moved into the new South region.
Reports earlier this week in Waterford’s local press said the new Kilkenny/Carlow/Waterford division was set to be headquartered in Kilkenny and built on a greenfield site, but there has been no confirmation of this in the Commissioner’s announcement.
Other parts of the plan will see an extra 2,500 gardai assigned to frontline duties in the biggest change seen in the force in modern times.
The announcement of more frontline gardai, as well as creating more roles for civilian staff, was made this morning by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris.
His plan called “Operating Model for An Garda Síochána,” aims to have more front line gardai by 2021, increased numbers of community policing teams, reduce the number of divisions in the country, and create a more localised garda service.
Commissioner Harris wants to put an extra 2,500 gardai on frontline duties by 2021, in addition to the 2,600 gardai already assigned since 2017.
Divisions are set to increase in size with each division having between 600-800 frontline personnel.
The plan also calls for the creation of an additional 1,265 civilian staff to add to the 1,070 already in place.
Speaking at the announcement Commissioner Drew Harris said: “These improvements will allow us to increase the number of Gardaí at the front-line and enhance community policing.
“It will mean Gardaí at all ranks will have more time to engage with local communities and stakeholders to help keep people safe.
“These changes will deliver a more visible, localised and responsive policing service. What won’t change though is the strong connection we have with local communities.”