A new report finds the force is "well behind" other services in how it uses technology

It's unclear how many gardaí are needed to police Ireland because of a lack of planning.

That's according to a critical new report from the Garda Síochána Inspectorate, which says there are often insufficient members on duty at the right times.

It also finds the force is "well behind" other services in how it uses technology and data to manage resources.

According to the Inspectorate, there are often insufficient gardaí on duty at the right times.

It also warns that communities have noticed a decrease in Garda visibility.

File photo. Image: RollingNews.ie

The report finds that the number of community policing members has reduced by up to 50% in many divisions - including large reductions in rural areas.

Some areas, meanwhile, have no dedicated community policing members in place.

Chief Inspector Mark Toland says the force does many things well, and their community approach offers a 'strong foundation' for development.

He adds: “Visibility, accessibility and reassurance are critically important to local communities, particularly those most vulnerable."

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan says officials will now study the "broad and detailed" report.