Gardaí must stick to the rules in recording crime in order to guarantee quality data, a high-level expert group has said.
The Department of Justice body also said there was evidence that gardaí are not always applying correctly the rules regarding the detection of crimes.
The Expert Group on Crime Statistics was set up on foot of the Crime Investigation report, published by the Garda Inspectorate in 2014. It criticised aspects of crime recording and made a number of recommendations.
Issues around the quality of Garda data continue to be the subject of scrutiny with the CSO postponing its publication of Garda crime statistics pending corrective action by gardaí and with the Policing Authority investigating separate issues concerning homicide figures.
The expert group said improvements had been made to Garda Pulse data since the Inspectorate’s report.
But it concluded there was a need “for even greater adherence to procedural rules in order to guarantee data quality”.
The group said Garda work in this area should be subject to “ongoing review and audit”.
It said improvements were needed in linking crime incidents with responses to such crimes.
The report said that while the official system for counting crimes was “fit for purpose”, there was a “clear need” for a more comprehensive document, which should be publicly available.
It said the inspectorate’s recommendation for the online mapping of crime was “technically feasible”, but expressed concerns about confidentiality issues.
“The group considers that this work should continue to be pursued, bearing in mind this concern,” the report said.
Commenting on the report, CSO senior statistician Paul Crowley noted its call for “strict adherence” to procedural rules in order to ensure quality data.
“The CSO will continue to assess data quality to promote compliance with these rules and to ensure crime statistics in which users can have confidence,” he said.
“The release of Q1 2017 recorded crime statistics was delayed by the CSO in order to address quality concerns in this regard.”
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