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Some gardaí were using PULSE as 'a social website for gossip', says former Justice Minister Alan Shatter


TD Alan Shatter

TD Alan Shatter

TD Alan Shatter

TD Alan Shatter has claimed that while Justice Minister some Gardaí were using the PULSE computer system more "as a social website" than as a tool to record criminal acts.

Allegations about the inappropriate access have dogged the system since its introduction in the late 1990s, and Deputy Shatter said he had raised concerns about its misuse with the Garda Commissioner while heading up the Department of Justice in 2013.

Referencing allegations that a number of Gardaí used the PULSE system to access information about the Dublin North’s 2013 arrest for suspected drink-driving, Mr Shatter said he had found the incident very worrying.

“What isn't generally publicly known is that I raised that issue with the Garda authorities and I expressed concern as to how that came about.

Mr Shatter continued, saying it was his understanding that one of the investigations that GSOC is currently engaged in arose out of a complaint made by Deputy Daly as to how details of her arrested leaked into the public domain.

Also troubling at the time, he said, where the circumstances of how information about the death well-known model Katy French “found their way into the public domain".

"My concern at the time was that in relation to reports on both those issues, they were more about prurient interest than public interest.”

“It is an issue about people’s confidence in the Garda Siochana, whether you are engaged with the Gardaí, whether you try and assist them in their inquiries, you are a witness to an event, whether you have a personal issue you need to discuss with them.

“The public needs the assurance of knowing, that if you happen to be someone that is well known, that that won’t leak its way into the newspapers.”

A recent review by the Garda Inspectorate into Pulse in 2014 uncovered a number of systemic failures in recording criminal acts, while a similar review by the Central Statistics Office found that 18 pc of crimes reported in 2011 had not been recorded on the system.

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