Garda Inspectorate outlines how victims of serious crime have been ignored by gardaí

Suspect who head-butted and broke glass over victim’s head was not interviewed for three to four months

Garda Inspectorate chief inspector Robert K Olson: elements of good Garda practice are “not being shared or employed across the country”. Photograph: Eric Luke

Garda Inspectorate chief inspector Robert K Olson: elements of good Garda practice are “not being shared or employed across the country”. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

The failure by gardaí to record crime has undermined the force’s ability to meet policing demands and in many cases meant the victims of very serious offences have been ignored, the Garda Inspectorate said yesterday.

Chief inspector Robert K Olson said the inspectorate had come across many “committed and dedicated people” within the force, but that the inspectorate’s probe into Garda investigation of crime had also “found that these elements of good practice are not being shared or employed across the country”.

Deputy chief inspector Mark Toland said those gardaí failing to record crime accurately or making no record at all need to be disciplined for their serious actions. “It’s an unacceptable neglect of duty and a disciplinary offence,” he said.

Unprovoked head-butt

At the time of dealing with the victim, the garda was given information about the suspect’s details, and on viewing the CCTV the garda recognised the suspect. A victim’s statement was taken six days later and 19 days later a witness statement was taken.

The suspect was not arrested but was interviewed 26 days later, when he fully admitted the offence. The seriousness of the assault was reflected in an 11- month prison sentence in November 2012.

“This was a serious assault that was not investigated promptly and there were long delays in taking victim and witness statements and dealing with the suspect,” said the report.

In May 2012 another victim was head-butted in the face and a glass was broken over his head, causing injuries. Suspects were identified at the time of the offence and this was confirmed on CCTV footage. The suspects were not interviewed until some three to four months later. The delay was not explained in the case file.

Domestic violence

In another incident a victim who was kicked and bitten by a known suspect attended a Garda station in a distressed state. The victim spoke to a number of gardaí and described the response as “very uncaring”. Despite visible injuries an ambulance was not called. The victim was told that they were too busy at that time and to call back later. The victim was also advised to deal with the matter themselves. Some six months later the victim had not been contacted and the crime was not recorded.

In June 2012 a victim contacted gardaí and stated her husband had beaten her and she wanted him arrested. By the time the garda attended the scene the husband had left the house. Ten days later the victim attended court to obtain a court order. This incident was not recorded on Pulse until 12 months later (after a request from the inspectorate).

The inspectorate was informed that the garda involved in this case was reminded about their responsibilities. When recorded, it was categorised as a domestic dispute.