68. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has satisfied himself that the recording of statistics relating to the incidence of domestic burglaries as reported to An Garda Síochána is completely accurate. [5560/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) as the national statistics agency, is responsible for the publication of the official recorded crime statistics. I understand that the CSO has already carried out two detailed reviews of crime data quality, in 2015 and 2016, and that further general reviews of crime data quality are planned. The CSO's involvement is key to the ongoing work to enhance the quality of crime statistics.
I understand that CSO plans to recommence publication of the official crime statistics in the first half of this year. However, in the meantime provisional statistics released by An Garda Síochána last month indicate a significant drop in burglary rates for the two month period of November / December 2017. I would caution that all these figures are provisional until such time as the publication of the official crime statistics by the CSO has recommenced. I am further informed that CSO are likely to note the statistics as ‘under reservation’ which indicates that, while the statistics have been determined to be of sufficient quality to allow publication, the ongoing issues mean that the quality does not yet meet the higher standard required of official statistics.
The CSO is engaging with An Garda Síochána and other crime statistics users, including my Department and the Policing Authority, in relation to the issues that need to be resolved by An Garda Síochána in order for the data to reach the required standard.