“It is vital that we have access to accurate, reliable data on crime. I expect nothing less.” – Minister
Minister Fitzgerald welcomes changes introduced by An Garda Síochána:
· new Incident Reporting Process
· new Data Quality Team
· changes to PULSE
Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Justice and Equality, has today welcomed the resumption of publication of the official Recorded Crime Statistics by the Central Statistics Office, together with the publication by the CSO of its analysis of the issues arising from the 2014 Garda Inspectorate Report on Crime Investigation.
Minister Fitzgerald stated: “It is vital that we have access to accurate, reliable data on crime. I expect nothing less.”
“Quality data is critical to ensuring that the policing services offered by An Garda Síochána are responsive to emerging and latest crime trends. In addition, members of the public must be kept informed and they must be assured that the crime figures they are seeing are accurate.”
The CSO had temporarily suspended publication of the crime figures to allow it to assess the issues highlighted in the November 2014 Report of the Garda Inspectorate on Crime Investigation. Following its detailed review, the CSO has now published the quarterly crime statistics for Quarter 2 and Quarter 3 of 2014 and Quarter 1 of 2015, bringing the publication of crime statistics back to its original schedule.
In addition to publishing the updated crime figures, the CSO has also published a detailed analysis of how the issues raised by the Garda Inspectorate impact on the quality of crime data. The CSO’s analysis and recommendations add to that of the Inspectorate, clarifying and quantifying the issues identified.
Minister Fitzgerald stated: “Following publication of the Inspectorate Report last November, I held very productive discussions with the Director of the Central Statistics Office and his staff; and I am very grateful to the CSO for their expert and independent analysis.”
“The work of both the CSO and the Garda Inspectorate has identified common issues of concern in relation to the crime recording processes and systems in An Garda Síochána. Many of these issues have no doubt built-up over time, particularly as technology has failed to keep up with the demands of policing in a modern society. Similar issues have also been found in other jurisdictions. However, none of this is to take away from the undoubted contribution and commitment of An Garda Síochána in responding to crime and community safety.
“Today’s publication by the CSO, analysing the issues raised by the Garda Inspectorate, is a further important step in securing the integrity of our national crime statistics.”
“As Minister, I am determined to support An Garda Síochána in developing its systems to meet the realities and expectations of 21st Century policing. In particular I have been working closely with my colleague Minister Howlin to secure the necessary and early investment in upgrading Garda technology and I hope to make significant announcements shortly in relation to the development of Garda ICT systems.”
Commenting on reforms being implemented by An Garda Síochána the Minster stated: “I welcome the piloting by An Garda Síochána of a new incident recording process to address the issues in relation to the recording of crime which were identified by both the Garda Inspectorate and CSO.”
“New measures have been put in place by An Garda Síochána to ensure that all reports from the public to Garda stations and control rooms will be logged in a consistent manner using a standardised method and that all incidents will be recorded and classified initially at Garda Information Services Centre (GISC) based in Castlebar. This will reduce the number of incident classification decision makers and improve consistency.”
The Minister also welcomed changes to the PULSE system to ensure that the status of an investigation is correct at all times. In addition, a new PULSE upgrade will enable district officers to generate daily, weekly and monthly incident reviews of investigations. This will ensure accountability, governance and oversight of investigations.
Minister Fitzgerald added “A new Data Quality Team has also been established in the Garda Information Services Centre (GISC). The new Data Quality Team provides oversight of the classification, reclassification of crime and crime detections. The Team works with local Garda management to ensure a consistent approach to crime recording and to ensure that crime is correctly classified first time around.”
Minister Fitzgerald also noted that the CSO is separately chairing an Expert Panel to examine the Garda Inspectorate’s recommendations on crime statistics, including with a view to the development of new crime counting rules. The Minister said “I look forward to the outcome of this important exercise.”
Minister Fitzgerald noted that the newly published statistics indicate an 8% increase in burglaries in the twelve months ending 31 March 2015.
Minister Fitzgerald said that “I am very conscious of the impact of burglaries on households, and earlier this year I carried out a broad and urgent review of the criminal justice system’s response to this problem.
“I recently published the heads of the Criminal Justice (Burglary of Dwellings) Bill which targets repeat burglary offenders through new measures relating to bail and provisions concerning the imposition of consecutive sentencing for repeat burglary offending.
“I have also made specific funding of €700,000 available for new specialised vehicles to support an enhanced operational response by Gardaí to current and emerging crime threats, including burglary offences being committed by highly-mobile gangs.”