‘Updating’ statements on Pulse should be reviewed

Statements have potential to undermine credibility of Garda evidence

Report calls for the organisation to review the effectiveness of the Pulse computer system.

Report calls for the organisation to review the effectiveness of the Pulse computer system.

 

The “updating” of statements on the Pulse system and the production of undated statements have the potential to undermine the credibility of Garda evidence and should be reviewed, the report has found.

The recommendation is one of a number of procedure and policy reviews which barrister Seán Guerin recommends be undertaken by An Garda Síochána.

It recommends the force should review the procedures, directions and guidance given to its members relating to the formal production, dating and signature of statements of evidence.

Contemporaneous notes
It further recommends that it review procedures and guidance around the recording of contemporaneous notes of the steps taken in an investigation to ensure that important events and the reasons for them are properly recorded.

The report also calls for the organisation to review the effectiveness of the Pulse computer system as a means for recording and supervising compliance with conditions of bail.

It recommends that the system should communicate automatically with the IT systems of the Courts Service in relation to bail conditions.

Another set of procedures that should be reviewed is around the taking of a statement amounting to the withdrawal of a complaint of criminal wrongdoing, the report says.

It specifically states that such statements “should not be recorded as the withdrawal of a complaint, merely because the complainant has been told that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute”.

The report further recommends that a review of procedures and guidance around the steps taken to ensure that CCTV is obtained, where possible, and where not, that a careful and full record is taken of members’ efforts to obtain the CCTV footage.

In circumstances where disciplinary procedures are recommended against a probationary garda it recommends that a report be obtained on the effectiveness of his/her supervision including whether or not there are grounds for disciplinary procedures for neglect of duty in the supervision of the probationary garda.

It says An Garda Síochána should review its guidance as regards the taking of victim impact statements and the conduct of summary prosecutions.