71. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 277 of 13 November 2018, if he is satisfied that the system for recording the number of knife crimes is accurate; and if so, the number of knife crimes recorded in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [4389/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As outlined to the Deputy previously, it is my understanding that the information being sought in relation to this knife crime is not available through the Central Statistics Office (CSO) at this time. I also note the CSO has further explained the reasoning for its decision in relation to this category of crime.
While the CSO's official crime figures remain “Under Reservation”, it is clear that progress is being made by An Garda Síochána and the CSO in improving the quality of the crime statistics. Notably, on 11 December 2018, the CSO published a third review of the quality of recorded crime statistics, based on data recorded on the PULSE database system for crimes reported to Gardaí in 2017. The review concluded, inter-alia, that clear improvements had been made in the manner in which criminal incidents were being recorded on the PULSE system.
While this is encouraging, it is also clear that there is more work to be done in this area and my Department, in conjunction with the Policing Authority, will continue to monitor the progress of An Garda Síochána in ensuring that the national crime statistics are returned to the higher standard required by the CSO.
Notwithstanding the above, I am assured that An Garda Síochána continues to address knife crime through education and engagement with communities. I am advised that at an operational level, Gardaí pro-actively target public disorder and anti-social behaviour, including knife-related crime through the strategic deployment of Garda resources. Areas identified as public order hot-spots by local Garda management are the subject of additional foot and mobile patrols.