Garda reserve arrest over Pulse stalking

A Garda reservist has been arrested and questioned in connection with allegedly harassing an ex-girlfriend and using the Garda computerised intelligence system, Pulse, to check who she was seeing.

It has emerged that the reserve bombarded his ex-girlfriend with hundreds of text messages following their split and left messages and CDs at her home over a number of weeks prior to her making a complaint.

It is also alleged that he used the Pulse computer system to check the registration number of vehicles parked outside the home of his ex-girlfriend and was thus able to acquire the name of the owner, their address and other details.

Reserve gardaí are entitled to access the Pulse system for what is considered routine information, which would normally be requested by full-time gardaí who might be on patrol and spot suspicious vehicles.

However, it is believed that the Garda reserve, who is stationed in the south of the country, may have accessed the information on vehicles parked outside the former girlfriend’s house without any such requests and may have assimilated a lot of information on her neighbours and friends without having the appropriate authorisation.

Garda reserves are prohibited from accessing “intel files” which contain sensitive information on people.

There are around 1,200 Garda reserves stationed around the country who are provided with a handbook which specifically says what they are not allowed to access on Pulse, in particular the intelligence section.

Then justice minister Michael McDowell set up the reserve in 2006. The Garda Representative Association saw it as a move to prop up a force that was being stripped of resources.

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