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Question

76. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she is satisfied that the issues highlighted in the Garda Síochána Inspectorate report, particularly relating to the misrepresentation of crime figures, have been addressed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42366/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Inspectorate Report on Crime Investigation forms an important component in the overall justice reform programme which is currently underway and in respect of which significant progress has already been made. Implementation of this programme, including the reforms recommended by the Inspectorate, is being overseen by the Cabinet Committee on Justice Reform, chaired by An Taoiseach.
Following the publication of the Report, An Garda Síochána established an Implementation Steering Group to focus on the implementation of the short, medium and long-term recommendations in the Report. To assist in the overall reform process a Strategic Transformation Office has been established at Garda Headquarters to coordinate the implementation of the reforms arising from the Inspectorate’s report.
An Garda Síochána has taken a number of important steps to address the issues identified including the establishment of a new Data Quality Team within the Garda Information Services Centre (GISC), and the piloting of a new incident recording process to test data review processes. Arising from and building on this work, the Commissioner indicated that further measures will be rolled out to enhance accountability, governance and oversight of investigations.
In light of the concerns raised by the Inspectorate about the recording of crime data, and the implications for the Official CSO Recorded Crime Statistics, the CSO conducted an in depth review of the crime figures and published its analysis of these matters on 30 June this year. The work of both the CSO and the Garda Inspectorate identified common issues of concern in relation to Garda crime recording processes and systems. Many of these issues have no doubt built up over time and it is true to say that similar issues have also been found with police data in other jurisdictions. CSO's analysis clarified and quantified the issues which were identified by the Inspectorate in relation to crime recording. Notwithstanding these issues, the CSO concluded that the data are of sufficient quality to allow publication of crime statistics, on the basis that care should be taken in their interpretation in light of the report’s analysis. The CSO is working with An Garda Síochána to address these issues and will repeat their analysis at regular intervals to monitor data quality.
I might also draw the Deputy’s attention to other work being led by the CSO which is chairing an Expert Panel to examine the Garda Inspectorate’s recommendations on crime statistics, including with a view to the development of new crime counting rules.
I am pleased that there is a programme of work in place to address the issues identified by the Inspectorate so that we can be satisfied that we have accurate, reliable data on crime. This work will be well supported by the very substantial additional provision of €205 million for new technology and information systems for An Garda Síochána which is provided in the Government Capital Plan 2016 - 21. This level of investment underlines my commitment to progress the important reforms of An Garda Síochána identified by the Garda Inspectorate.