One in five crimes not recorded on garda Pulse system - CSO
Published 29/09/2016 | 02:30
The reliability of An Garda Síochána's crime figures has been called into question after it emerged almost one in five crimes was not recorded on the force's Pulse system.
Senior politicians have called for an investigation into the apparent under-recording of crime while calling on the Garda Commissioner to ensure that there is a reliable method of recording.
In its report on the quality of crime statistics and recorded crime, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) found 17pc of incidents reported to gardaí in 2015 were not recorded on Pulse.
The force has also been accused of exaggerating its success rate in solving crimes, with the CSO warning that the actual success rate could be 10pc lower than claimed.
"One in five non-CAD-equipped stations did not keep paper records which could be used to estimate the non-recording of reported crime on Pulse," a statement from the CSO said.
"The status of detected was incorrectly applied to 18pc of those crimes marked as detected but without a charge or summons sheet attached. Removing these detections would reduce the overall number of detected crimes by 10pc."
Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O'Callaghan said that the CSO findings raised "serious concerns about the reliability of our crime figures".
"We have always known that many crimes go unrecorded because of failure by the public to report them.
"However, it was always assumed that reported crime was accurate. This appears now not to be the case," Mr O'Callaghan said.
"The Garda Commissioner and the Policing Authority need to ensure that we have a reliable and thorough method of recording reported crime," he added.
Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said: "This urgently needs to be investigated and a solution needs to be found, as do answers because it is very serious."
In a statement, An Garda Síochána said: "Data quality is an issue for all police services and we are determined to ensure we have the highest quality data. We have made some progress in this area, but we recognise we have more work to do."
A spokesperson for Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald said: "The CSO previously published a review of data quality in June 2015 and today's publication shows that, while significant progress has been made in relation to the classification of crime incidents and recording of detections, there is still work to be done to improve recording procedures.
"The Tánaiste therefore welcomes the fact that the CSO conclude that the estimated impact of these issues on recorded crime is substantially less than was the case for the first review, and she is determined that a strong focus remain on the need for improvements in this area."
Figures released by the CSO for the year ending June 2016 show that the majority of crimes decreased over a 12-month period. Burglary-related crimes fell by a massive 26.3pc, while homicides fell overall by 3pc in the time period.