Gardaí: More work to do on recording of crime

An Garda Síochána has admitted it has “more work to do” in improving the recording of crime after the Central Statistics Office once again raised issues over some aspects of the system.

In addition to publishing the latest quarterly crime figures, the CSO also released its latest review of the quality of crime statistics, based on cases from 2015.

It was the second such review, the previous one having looked at data from 2011, and while the CSO said there had been improvements in virtually all areas, there were still some shortcomings.

For example, an estimated 17% of crime reported to gardaí in 2015 via their Control And Dispatch (CAD) equipped divisions does not appear to be captured on the gardaí’s Pulse system for recording crime. According to the CSO, these CAD divisions accounted for approximately 63% of all recorded crime in Ireland.

CSO statistician Tim Linehan said one simple explanation was confusion over the definition of certain types of crime, and he also stressed the more serious the offence the better recorded it is.

The CSO review also showed how 6.4% of all offences created on Pulse in 2015 were created more than a week after they were first reported, although in this case this was due to some crimes being reclassified.

Taking 1,000 randomly sampled Pulse incidents, there were only four cases of a narrative being changed without apparent justification, but the review also showed an estimated one-in-five non-CAD equipped stations did not keep paper records which could be used to estimate the non-recording of reported crime on Pulse.

Also, across seven major crime categories, including burglary and criminal damage, an estimated 3% of incidents were incorrectly classified to the wrong crime category while a further 2% of cases had insufficient information to determine the correct classification.

It also suggested the rate of detected crime may have been overestimated by as much as 10%, while 21% invalidated crimes lacked sufficient explanation as to why they were so classified.

In response, a spokes- person for the gardaí said: “We are currently examining the CSO report on Garda data. Data quality is an issue for all police services and we are determined to ensure we have the highest quality data. We have made some progress in this area, but we recognise we have more work to do.

“Many of the recommendations in the CSO report will be addressed by our Modernisation and Renewal Programme which will see investment in technology that will automate the recording of crime compared to the largely manual process at moment.

In addition, our civilianisation programme will see more staff employed at the Garda Information Services Centre to deal with crime recording and also the appointment of a data quality manager.”

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