CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
Statement on the Serious crime figures data provided by An Garda Síochána to the CSO
Earlier this week, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) published their 2nd quarterly crime statistics release of 2018 ‘Under Reservation’. As the Deputy will be aware, the CSO formally recommenced the publication of Crime Statistics on 28th March of this year with the full year figures for 2017. This is welcome and vitally important for a number of reasons, but particularly for the management of criminal justice policy and Garda operations, so that we have regular publication of CSO crime statistics to allow for a targeted response to crime.
There is a well-documented body of work ongoing in this area to ensure that the CSO can stand over the figures they release as a true and accurate reflection of the level of criminality in our society.
We must bear in mind that issues with the consistent recording of crime data are not unique to this jurisdiction. This notwithstanding, I remain determined that a strong focus remains on the need for improvements in this area. I am satisfied that the work of An Garda Síochána in conjunction with the CSO and the Policing Authority, will soon return the crime statistics to the higher standard expected by our national statistics agency.
The Deputy will recall that on 25 July 2017, I published the Report of the CSO-led Expert Group on Crime Statistics. The Expert Group was established to specifically address six recommendations arising from the Garda Inspectorate Report on Crime Investigation 2014 which directly related to the compilation of crime statistics.
During the course of the Group’s meetings, a number of new measures were implemented on the Garda PULSE database with the objective of improving data quality and these were outlined to the Group by An Garda Síochána. Furthermore, since the establishment of the Expert Group, a Liaison Group was set up between the CSO and An Garda Síochána as a formal, high-level mechanism for consultation and communication between both organisations that will facilitate co-operation and ensure that both organisations can fulfil their respective statutory obligations for the production of crime statistics as set out in the Garda Síochána Act, 2005 and in accordance with the procedures and requirements of the Statistics Act, 1993. The Group, inter alia, also oversees the implementation of the recommendations of the Expert Group. In addition, a revised Memorandum of Understanding between the CSO and An Garda Síochána was signed in 2017.
The CSO has already carried out two detailed reviews of crime data quality, in 2015 and 2016, and I understand that 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.