CSO may delay crime figures over concerns on Garda data

Inspectorate found crimes underrecorded and detection rates lower than claimed

Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan has been contacted by the CSO director general. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan has been contacted by the CSO director general. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) may have to delay the publication of quarterly crime data because of its concern about the “statistical implications” of last week’s Garda Inspectorate report.

The report found that crimes were underrecorded and detection rates were lower than that stated by the force. The CSO said yesterday it “views with concern any issues in relation to the quality of official statistics” and that its director general had contacted the interim Garda Commissioner, Noirín O’Sullivan, “with a view to examining the statistical implications of the Garda Inspectorate report”.

“The CSO looks forward to working with An Garda Síochána on the statistical issues arising from the report,” a spokesman for the CSO said.

However, he added that, as a result of this work, its next report on crime statistics covering the third quarter of 2014, which had been due to be published in December, might now be delayed.

A spokesman for the organisation’s crime section said the recorded crime statistics published by the CSO “depend entirely on the Garda Síochána’s systems and procedures to record crime”.

He said it welcomed “all proposals to improve the coverage and quality of Pulse”, the force’s incident-reporting system, which is the primary data source for crime statistics compiled by the CSO. The organisation said it would publish a more detailed response to the report in due course.

Sample of cases

The CSO took over responsibility for the publication of crime statistics from An Garda Síochána in 2005.

Last night a spokesman for the Garda press office said, in order to ensure data integrity, the force was establishing a data quality team to provide independent oversight of the classification of crime and crime detections. He added that the force looked forward to working with an expert group, chaired by the CSO, which has been charged with reviewing the crime-counting rules.