Garda IT system upgraded to log crimes of hate and racism

Move sends strong message to victims, says Immigrant Council of Ireland

A Garda decision to update its Pulse computer system to allow for specific recording of crimes of hate and racism has been described as “a major step forward”.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland said the decision "to log crimes of hate, racism, Islamophobia and homophobia sends a strong message to victims to come forward". It said the changes "send out a strong message to victims that their complaints are being taken seriously and will be investigated."

The Pulse system can now log crimes in categories including racism, homophobic, anti-traveller, ageist, acts against people with disabilities, sectarian, anti-Roma, Islamophobia, anti-Semitic, transphobia and gender-related.

Through its own system, the Immigrant Council records over 150 such incidents a year. It has been involved in a lengthy campaign to reform how racism is recorded in the Republic and pointed out that the Police Service of Northern Ireland was logging 700 per cent more cases than the Garda.

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Council chief executive Brian Killoran said "the decision to allow gardaí across the country to log crimes as acts of hatred and racism not only brings the gardaí into line with the PSNI and other European police forces but also tells victims that they do not have to suffer in silence." No one should have to fear "a brick through their bedroom window, abuse when going to the local shop or discrimination of any form," he said.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times