· CSO-chaired Expert Group finds current principles and rules are ‘fit for purpose’
· Minister: “We must always strive for further improvements”
· Series of recommendations to be implemented
25 July 2017
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Mr. Charlie Flanagan TD, has today (Tuesday 25 July 2017) published the report of the CSO Expert Group on Crime Statistics, which he welcomed as a significant step towards further improvement in the area.  The Expert Group, comprised of representatives from the CSO, An Garda Síochána and the Department of Justice and Equality, as well as Professor Mary Rogan of Trinity College Dublin, was set up on foot of the 2014 Garda Inspectorate report on Crime Investigation.  It examined six recommendations directly relating to the compilation of crime statistics.  
Minister Flanagan praised the commitment being shown to improving the quality of crime statistics: “It is important that we seek ongoing and continuous improvement in the compilation of crime statistics to ensure that the data we rely on is of the highest possible quality, and this work sets out a number of recommendations to be taken forward.
“Robust data informs the operational decisions made by the Garda Síochána in terms of the development of policing strategies and targeting of resources, and it provides important inputs into the evidence-based policy-making process pursued by my Department in the ongoing reform of the criminal law.  
“That is why I am very happy to see the progress that is being made and to see a series of tangible actions set out.” 
Note for Editors
Please see report on Crime Statistics will be made available on the Department of Justice website www.justice.ie
The expert group examined the six recommendations of the Garda Inspectorate Report directly relating to crime statistics and made the following recommendations:
· While the current principles behind the crime statistics are fit for purpose, there is a clear need for a new, comprehensive and publicly available document explaining these principles in detail and work will begin shortly on this document by the CSO and An Garda Síochána; 
· Similarly, while the current principles governing detection rules are also fit for purpose, they need to be applied correctly and continue to be monitored by the CSO;
· A clear explanation of detection rules should also be included in the publicly available document on the recording,  counting, invalidation and classification of crime; 
· There have been improvements in the quality of PULSE data since the Inspectorate Report; however, data quality and the correct application of crime counting and detection rules should be subject to ongoing review and audit; 
· An Garda Síochána should provide information to the CSO on any changes to data structure on PULSE and the CSO should review the effect of such changes on official crime statistics; 
· The set of data fields, including any mandatory fields, for compiling official statistics should be set out formally by the CSO and reviewed periodically;
· Development work on producing official crime maps should be the responsibility of the Department of Justice and Equality, in consultation with the CSO and An Garda Síochána;
· There remains a need for the CSO to continue the assessment of the quality of crime statistics via its regular quality reports.
· The implementation of this report should assist significantly in the ongoing work to improve the quality of crime statistics, including resolving the recent (not directly related) issue which has emerged regarding the classification of homicide statistics. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has postponed the release of the latest Quarterly Recorded Crime Statistics (Q1 of 2017), which had been due for publication on 28 June 2017. This postponement arose because the ongoing Garda review in relation to the classification of homicide incidents is not yet complete. Therefore, it was not possible for the CSO to conduct its normal data verification process in advance of the publication of new crime statistics. 
· A decision on the resumption of the publication of crime statistics is a matter for the CSO, which is the independent national statistics authority. The Garda authorities are in continuing contact with the CSO in relation to these matters. 
· Issues with the consistent recording of crime data are not unique to this jurisdiction. The CSO has already carried out two detailed reviews of crime data quality, in 2015 and 2016, and further general reviews of crime data quality are planned. The CSO’s work provides an important measure of re-assurance to support ongoing work to enhance the quality of the official crime statistics.
· The recording or verification of mandatory alcohol testing (MAT) and mandatory intoxication test (MIT) data is not part of the remit of the CSO and does not form part of their Quarterly Crime Statistics publication and so the issues which arose in that context are not linked to this report or to the work of the CSO.