In the latest controversy to surround Garda crime statistics, the Policing Authority was told yesterday that 89 homicides between 2003 and 2017 had not been reported to the CSO because they were flagged incorrectly on the Garda Pulse system.
These 89 cases are separate to revelations last April regarding classification issues on 41 homicides recorded between 2013 and 2015.
Authority member Dr Vicky Conway described the latest revelations as “alarming” and sought reassurance there were “no actual consequences” for investigations or families of victims.
Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan said an indepth review was taking place to ensure there were no consequences in investigations in any of the cases.
The Garda’s top statistician Gurchand Singh said that while the 89 homicides had been recorded on Pulse, they were recorded incorrectly and that the problems had been rectified.
The CSO has postponed publication of crime statistics until it is assured.
Authority chair Josephine Feehily expressed concern at the impact on “community confidence and, potentially, on victims”.
Mr Singh said there had been “no attempt to downplay or reclassify” homicides and that they had been identified as such on Pulse, but that “some important additional information was missing or incorrectly applied”.
He said the “bulk” of the 89 cases were dangerous driving causing deaths offences and three main problems had been identified:
- 63 incidents where the incorrect offence — the more minor driving offence rather than homicide — was recorded as the most serious crime, which is what the CSO goes on
- 26 incidents where there were multiple fatalities but only one fatality was recorded under the CSO crime counting rules
- 85 incidents where no injured party was attached in the right incident record — but said this did not impact on the 89 cases
Mr Singh said that while the homicides were recorded they were not reported to CSO because the correct flag wasn’t there.
Assistant Commissioner Eugene Corcoran said they hadn’t found “any impact on investigations”, but that gardaí were going out to districts to check.
Commissioner O’Sullivan said she was “very conscious” of victims’ families and said an indepth review was under way.
Ms Feehily was unhappy they still did not have the report on the 41 cases.
She also said that the second interim report on the breath test and fixed-charge notice scandals had “no analysis at all” as to why they happened.
She said this was odd given the final report was due in less than three weeks.
She said the authority had this week contracted a professional firm to audit the two issues.
Dr Conway also expressed “grave concern” at the low detection rates for robberies, burglaries, sex offences and assaults.