Deal means more gardai will be on call during peak times
MORE gardai will be deployed on the streets during peak periods following a major overhaul of work practices.
A deal has been reached between garda management and the representative associations to introduce rosters geared toward meeting modern policing demands.
The new rosters, which are due to come into operation in the new year, will see larger numbers deployed when public order offences are high, such as Friday and Saturday nights.
At present the the same number of gardai are on duty at 6am on a Monday as there are at 11pm on a Friday.
The rosters will also take account of the European working time directive, which restricts the number of hours employees can be forced to work. Up to now the gardai and the Defence Forces have been exempt from the directive.
The agreement has been negotiated as part of the Croke Park Deal.
The changes are being brought in against a background of falling numbers in the force.
Garda strength has fallen from 14,700 to 14,050 and is expected to drop to 13,750 by the end of the year. This will be 250 short of the target set out in the government's four-year public sector programme.
However, more personnel, particularly in the senior ranks, have signalled that they are retiring before changes to their pensions are introduced at the end of February, and this will bring the bottom-line figure down to the 13,500 target.
Meanwhile, in the Prison Service the number of staff has been reduced to 3,500 from 3,750, upping the prisoner to staff ratio.