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Detection in Cork better than average

PULSE figures show Cork Divisions faring better than those in other parts of the country

According to figures from the Garda PULSE system, detection rates for crimes committed in Cork North and Cork West are better than average.

In figures provided by the Central Statistics Office to the Irish Examiner, significant differences in detection rates were brought to light. The differences were dependent on the specific crime involved and also in which of the 26 Garda divisions the crime occurred.

This report follows the Gardaí's own report, featured in The Corkman, which showed that alcohol- and drugs-related crimes were on the increase in Cork during 2018.

The CSO figures, based on data extracted from the Garda Pulse system, tracked the progress of Garda investigations of all crimes recorded during 2018.

Across all types of crime, Garda divisions with above-average detection rates included Cork North and West, Kerry, Westmeath, Cavan/Monaghan, Kilkenny/Carlow and Tipperary.

At a national level, only 11 per cent of sexual offences, which can involve both historical and recent crimes, were solved with the detection rate ranging from six per cent in a number of divisions including Cork City, Dublin East, Dublin West and Tipperary, to 30 per cent in Westmeath.

The CSO does not calculate detection rates at divisional level for certain crimes such as homicide and kidnappings and in relation to some divisions for sexual offences and robberies.

This is because the number of such offences is relatively small and risks identifying the incidents and victims in question.

Some categories of crime have naturally high detection rates such as dangerous and negligent acts (mostly drink-driving cases) as well as controlled drug- and public-order offences because they are usually directly linked to Garda enforcement measures, where offenders are immediately "identified."

The main criteria for classifying an offence as "detected" is when at least one suspect has been identified and sanctioned, which can take the form of a charge, summons, caution or fine.

However, there are a number of scenarios where an offence will be considered, detected even though no criminal proceedings have started.

These include the refusal or inability of an essential witness to give evidence, the death of an offender, or where a child offender is treated under the Juvenile Diversion Programme.

The CSO said all statistics on recorded crime were still being published "under reservation" due to ongoing issues about the reliability and quality of data as gardaí address concerns over the non-recording and misclassification of offences.

A CSO spokesperson said detection rates for 2018 were not comparable with similar figures from previous years due to a significant change in data recording practices.

Overall the force's best detection rates were for drug offences (85 per cent), dangerous or negligent acts (84 per cent), public-order offences (81 per cent) and homicide (75 per cent).

The lowest detection rates were for sexual offences (11 per cent) followed by burglaries (16 per cent), criminal damage (19 per cent), fraud (21 per cent) and robberies (26 per cent).