‘Inaccuracies’ found in Garda homicide figures

Review of 41 cases reveals some unlawful deaths had not been correctly classified

 Deputy Commissioner John Twomey: “I want to assure the public that every death is treated seriously and every death has been investigated.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Deputy Commissioner John Twomey: “I want to assure the public that every death is treated seriously and every death has been investigated.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Inaccuracies have been uncovered in the Garda’s homicide figures, following a review of 41 sample cases. Homicides include a variety of unlawful deaths such as murders, manslaughters, dangerous driving causing death and assaults that later result in death, among others.

The review has found what were termed “inaccuracies”.

The development comes just weeks after it emerged almost 15,000 motorists had been wrongly convicted of road traffic offences; and one million alcohol breath tests had been recorded as two million in the Garda’s official data over a four-year period.

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan is due before to appear before the Policing Authority tomorrow to be questioned about roads policing.

The inaccuracies that have emerged in the homicide figures will also be discussed.

Crime figures

The Garda has already been accused of massaging the wider crime figures. A Garda Inspectorate report revealed crimes were being reclassified to less serious offences without justification and the number of crimes solved, or detected, was being overestimated.

Deputy Commissioner John Twomey, who is in charge of operations in the Garda, said yesterday there were “some minor issues in relation to the classification” of some of the homicides reviewed.

While he did not specify how many of the 41 homicides had not been classified correctly, The Irish Times understands it relates to a very small number.

Mr Twomey said as more evidence became available in cases involving the death of a victim, the classification of each case needed to change when required.

The review was conducted as part of the Garda’s “ongoing management” of data and oversight investigation.

“I want to assure the public that every death is treated seriously and every death has been investigated,” he said.

Mr Twomey was speaking to the media at the annual conference of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) in Salthill, Galway.

Airport security

Separately, it also emerged at the GRA conference that only three armed detectives are available to police Dublin Airport.

The disclosure is likely to cause significant disquiet because airports have been targeted in terrorist attacks in other European countries.

While the new Armed Support Unit in Dublin patrols and conducts checkpoints on roads in the airport campus, they have no permanent presence there. The Special Detective Unit previously had a regular patrol at the airport but that is no longer the case.

“I’ve been there 10 years and I haven’t been told if there’s a direct line to the Defence Forces if something happens,” Garda Colin Moran, who is based in the airport, said.

However, he declined to comment on the specific manpower deployment at the airport, which emerged earlier at the conference.