Families of homicide victims concerned at unrecorded crime

The association representing families of homicide victims said it was “very concerned” at the revelation that 89 homicide offences have not been recorded on official crime statistics.

Advocates for Victims of Homicide (AdVic) is writing to Policing Authority chair Josephine Feehily on the matter, which emerged at the authority’s public meeting with the Garda Commissioner last Thursday.

The authority was told that a garda review had identified 89 homicides over a 14-year period that had not been reported to the CSO because of failings in how they were recorded in the Garda Pulse computer system.

The review was conducted after the CSO said it was postponing publishing garda crime figures until the matter was resolved.

The 89 cases, covering the period 2003 to May 2017, are separate to revelations last April regarding classification issues concerning 41 homicides recorded between 2013 and 2015.

Authority chair Josephine Feehily expressed concern at the impact on “community confidence and potentially on victims”.

Authority member Vicky Conway described the latest revelations as “alarming” and sought reassurance that the errors had “no actual consequences” for investigations and families.

Assistant Garda Commissioner Eugene Corcoran said the force had not found “any impact on investigations”, but that like with the other 41 cases, gardaí were going back to districts to ensure investigations were not affected.

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan said she was “very conscious” of victims’ families and that an indepth review was underway to ensure there were no consequences on investigations.

In a statement to the Irish Examiner yesterday, AdVicspokeswoman Joan Dean said: “We are very concerned about the fact that 89 homicide offences have gone unrecorded.

“While Garda management have said that these crimes were investigated, there are broader knock-on effects due to the under reporting of homicide offences.

“We feel that the lower level of homicides reported will have influenced the Government and relevant authorities’ view of the scale of the issue in Ireland and the degree of support required by victims’ families.

“Since the Garda Commissioner’s appearance before the Policing Authority last Thursday, we have met to consider our response and will be writing to Josephine Feehily to request that we are kept abreast of the situation.”

At the authority, the head of the Garda Analysis Service, Gurchand Singh, said that while the homicides — the bulk of them dangerous driving causing death — were recorded on Pulse, they were not reported to the CSO because they were not filled in or flagged correctly. He said “some important additional information was missing or incorrectly applied”.

The authority is due to get an update on the matter from the commissioner at their private meeting on July 27.


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