Wednesday 26 October 2016

Crime statistics must show the full picture

Published 01/07/2015 | 02:30

A report conducted by the Central Statistics Office indicated issues with how Garda data has been handled
A report conducted by the Central Statistics Office indicated issues with how Garda data has been handled

It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data, according to Arthur Conan Doyle. But what if the data itself is suspect, or at least does not give the full picture?

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This appears to have been the case, based on a review of crime statistics conducted by the Central Statistics Office.

Its report has revealed that gardaí did not record some 18pc of reported crimes on their Pulse computer system.

Worryingly, the report also identified other issues regarding Garda data.

The reliability of such information is vital to building intelligence and also to prosecuting crime; improving how it is handled must therefore be an urgent priority.

If there is a resource issue then it must be addressed. Behind every "statistic" is a victim, and a painful personal story.

It is fundamental that when someone reports a crime there is an expectation that justice will be served, and anything that undermines that must be taken extremely seriously.

The CSO review has highlighted a series of other concerns.

An estimated one-in-six crimes created from paper records in 2011 did not appear to be captured on Pulse. Meanwhile, 7pc of domestic disputes that were classified in a non-crime category should have been certified as a crime.

It is crucial that the public has complete confidence in the Gardai.

Among the main findings of the latest figures, an 8pc increase in burglaries and assaults between March 2014 and March 2015 was also detected.

Gardai have struggled with station closures and cutbacks. They do a difficult job and must be given every support.

Therefore, the decision to publish statistics quarterly, and to keep trends under close scrutiny, can only serve to enhance trust and so must be seen in a positive light.

Kenny should recall the sacrifice workers made

The telling of tall stories is something of an art form in Greece. Think of Homer's Iliad, and the Odyssey, to mention but two epics. Perhaps this is why the Taoiseach's imagination took on such a life of its own in outlining Ireland's handling of the bailout.

But Mr Kenny's mangling of the facts in spinning a fantastical tale went beyond the bounds of normal literary licence.

His denial of extra taxes - both direct and indirect - and of the imposition of levies borne by the Irish people, is inexcusable. Mr Kenny has had ample time to set the record straight, yet he refuses to do so. This amounts to an insult to all the families and workers whose sacrifices over the last few years staved off the disaster now looming over Greece.

He therefore owes it to voters to stand up and admit he was wrong. "Paddy likes to know," he once patronisingly declared. Mr Kenny may enjoy playing to the galleries telling the world what "a great little country this is to do business". He may also be right. But it is on the efforts of the ordinary worker that this "business" depends. If Mr Kenny does not get this, he is clearly out of step with workers and dallying dangerously with delusion.

Irish Independent

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