Tuesday, 15 November 2016
Department of Justice and Equality
87. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality if recorded crime statistics for west Cork are an accurate reflection of the reality of crime in the area; if all Garda stations in west Cork have access to the PULSE system; if not, the details of the stations without access; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34691/16]
Crime statistics are compiled by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) based on PULSE data and the statistics for west Cork reflect all crime incidents recorded by An Garda Síochána for that area.
In recent times, the CSO has carried out two important reviews of the quality of crime statistics, following on concerns raised in the 2014 Report of the Garda Inspectorate on Crime Investigation. The outcome of these reviews are reflective of the quality of the crime figures for all areas of the country.
The first CSO Review, published in June 2015, helped to clarify and quantify many of the issues raised by the Inspectorate. The second review, published in September this year, indicated that the estimated impact of the issues identified in the Garda Inspectorate Report in relation to recorded crime is substantially less than at the first review. I am, however, determined that a strong focus remains on the need for improvements in this area.
I must explain that most crime incidents are recorded via the Garda Information Services Centre (GISC), based in Castlebar. This provides a round the clock service which enables Gardaí to phone in details of a crime incident, and specially trained staff in GISC facilitate its correct recording and classification on PULSE. As a result, a lack of access to PULSE in a particular Garda station should not prevent the accurate recording of crime data. In fact, the latest information from the Garda authorities is that 92% of crime incidents are recorded via GISC, with the balance being recorded by Gardai directly on PULSE.
Some of the issues raised by the Garda Inspectorate concerned the need for procedures to ensure that the recording of crimes through GISC is maximised. As part of the work to implement the Inspectorate’s very broad ranging recommendations, An Garda Síochána has implemented new measures to improve data quality including a new Incident Recording process. This, together with important upgrades of the PULSE system during 2015, is supporting the improvement of Garda crime data as well as procedures for the supervision of investigations.
It will take time for the full effect of the upgrading of Garda systems to be reflected in the Crime Statistics. In this regard, I understand that the CSO intend to provide further analysis of crime data quality in due course which will help us to gauge, at that stage, how successful the ongoing work to achieve improvements in our crime statistics has been.
For its part, the Government remains committed to supporting this work and this is underlined by the investment of €330 million, including €205 million under the Capital Plan, in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021.
In relation to the specific question of PULSE access for Garda stations, as a number of Deputies have sought similar information in relation to various counties, I propose to provide those Deputies with a table with this information and to include the table in the Official Report.
I might add that the question of enhancing rural access to the Garda network is being examined as part of the Garda Síochána Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016-2021. This includes plans to introduce mobile technology solutions to enable operational Gardaí to access core information systems, including PULSE, while on duty and away from Garda stations.
However, as I have explained, the availability of PULSE in a given Garda station is not a prerequisite for the accurate recording and classification of crime data.
|Division||Names of Garda Stations in these areas without access to PULSE|
|Béal Átha an Ghaorthaidh|