Significant increase in reported crimes; Property crimes, crimes against person, and sexual offences, all up

Reported crimes have risen significantly so far this year, with increases in property crimes, crimes against the person, and sexual offences, Garda figures show.

A report by acting commissioner Dónal Ó Cualáin for the Policing Authority also shows that Garda targets for improving detection rates for sexual offences, burglaries, robberies, and assaults were “off target”.

The report also reveals Garda operations — including those targeting feuding gangs and travelling burglary groups — have resulted in the Garda overtime budget hitting €98m so far this year — 53% over the limit.

Mr Ó Cualain appears before a public meeting with the authority today in which he will outline how he is pursuing disciplinary action of members suspected of falsifying or inflating breath test figures.

Authority chairperson Josephine Feehily publicly said that she expected him to do so at the meeting. She also said she wanted to hear his response to a “deeply concerning” finding in the Crowe Horwath review of the breath test scandal that a majority of his divisional commanders had failed to report to his predecessor on their efforts to address the problem.

Garda staff associations have said they will watch what the commissioner says and have indicated they will consider legal action if the process breaches due process.

They have argued, as was pointed out in Crowe Horwath, that a range of systems failings — from technical to training to supervision — also contributed to the problem in addition to an unwritten expectation from management to keep figures high. In relation to recorded crime to end September 2017, provisional Garda data shows that:

  • Property crime is up 8% nationally, including a 17% jump in the Eastern Region and a 12% increase in the Southern Region;
  • Sexual offences are up 9% nationally, including a 38% jump in the Southern Region and an 18% increase in the Southern Region;
  • Crimes against the person are up 10% nationally, with a 17% rise in the Southern Region and a 14% increase in the Eastern Region;
  • Public order offences are up 6% nationally, including a 21% jump in Dublin and an 11% increase in the South Eastern Region.

The report points out the figures are provisional and that the CSO publishes the official crime statistics, which it hasn’t done this year because of concerns over Garda homicide figures.

It said the crime levels went in the opposite direction of targets for this year, which include a 10% reduction in robberies and a 5% fall in burglaries.

And it said that targets to improve detection rates for sexual offences, burglary and robbery were off target.

In addition, it said that targets to have an investigating officer and a supervisor assigned to every sexual crime was “at risk”.

The report said the cost of the Garda Pay Deal — agreed to avert the Garda strike a year ago — was €55m, of which €34m had been met in Revised Estimates.


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