New figures on crimes levels will be published next month following a six-month delay caused by serious concern over the accuracy of crimes recorded by gardaí.
The Government chief whip, Paul Kehoe, has confirmed the Central Statistics Office will resume publication of official crime figures towards the end of June. The CSO will also publish the findings of a major review it has carried out over the past few months on the quality of An Garda Síochána’s crime data.
The publication of recorded crime statistics was suspended by the CSO last November following publication of a major report on crime investigation by the Garda Inspectorate.
It raised serious concerns about the accuracy of how crime was recorded by gardaí, including the non-recording of crimes on the Garda Pulse system.
The damning report estimated that more than 30% of offences reported by the public were not being recorded on Pulse, while there was insufficient evidence in relation to another 16% of crimes to determine if they were correctly classified.
The Garda Inspectorate found recorded crimes did not always accurately reflect the gravity of the crime committed, while, in many other cases, the seriousness of the crime had been downgraded. In 2013, the issue was also highlighted after a senior member of the Garda Representative Association claimed crime figures were being massaged — an allegation vehemently rejected by the then Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan.
Following publication of the Garda Inspectorate’s report last year, the CSO expressed concern that it could impact on the official crime statistics which it produces as the CSO is entirely dependent on the Garda’s systems and procedures in respect of recording crime.
It remains unclear whether the CSO’s review will result in the alteration of previously published crime data, which has shown the overall level of crime has been falling in recent years.
Similar doubts over the accuracy of crimes being recorded by police have arisen in the UK, where the UK Statistics Authority withdrew its endorsement of official crime data in early 2014 due to the unreliability of police records which had been subject to “a degree of fiddling”.
Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare Seán Ó Fearghaíl said it was absolutely essential that the public had confidence in the statistics from the CSO, and that data on crimes recorded by An Garda Síochána should stand the test of public scrutiny.
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