CSO postpones publishing Garda crime data again

Long-awaited report delayed over uncertainty regarding homicide figures

In April it emerged that 41 homicides between 2013 and 2015 were reviewed because Garda analysts found some form of classification issue with them. Photograph:  Oli Scarff/Getty Images

In April it emerged that 41 homicides between 2013 and 2015 were reviewed because Garda analysts found some form of classification issue with them. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

 

The publication of any new crime data for the Republic has been once again postponed because the Garda Síochána has now extended its review into homicide data.

The Irish Times understands that a long-awaited report detailing how some homicides were not recorded as killings at all and were left out of the crime data over several years has still not been received by the Policing Authority.

On Thursday the Central Statistics Office (CSO) confirmed it had decided to “further defer” the publication of crime statistics. The decision was made, it said, after discussions with the Garda.

“This follows on from An Garda Síochána’s recent decision to extend their review of homicide data,” it said.

“The CSO recognises that the deferral of these statistics may be a source of frustration to our users and we will advise of a revised publication timetable in due course. The publication of recorded crime statistics is dependent on the provision of data by An Garda Síochána to the CSO.”

Homicide data

Questions to the Garda about why and in what way its review of homicide data had been extended had not been answered by last night.

In June when the national crime statistics for the first quarter of the year were due to be published the CSO announced it had decided to suspended the publication of any more crime data.

It was only the second time the CSO had suspended publication of crime data since it assumed responsibility for it in 2006.

In June it said the Garda was reviewing its homicide data and it preferred to await the outcome of that review, and make changes to its own historical data, before publishing any further crime figures.

Two months earlier, in April, there were tense exchanges between Policing Authority chairperson Josephine Feehily and Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan when the State’s homicide figures were discussed during a public meeting of the authority.

Classification issue

It emerged at the meeting that 41 homicides between 2013 and 2015 were reviewed because Garda analysts found some form of classification issue with them. Some murders committed in a domestic setting were classified as non-fatal offences against the person.

However, when Garda management appeared before the Policing Authority in June, the situation was much more grave. It emerged the Republic’s homicide figures were missing 89 killings because of mistakes in the way homicides have been recorded by Garda members.

The 89 homicides that were not counted in the homicide data occurred between 2003 and May 2017. All of them were cases of dangerous driving causing death.