The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has said that there is an absence of reporting on PULSE data quality by An Garda Síochána (AGS) which limits the CSO’s ability to properly inform users about PULSE data quality.
AGS should monitor and evaluate its data quality, to report in a transparent way to users, the CSO says.
The comment comes as the CSO publishes its fourth Review of the Quality of Recorded Crime Statistics.
The CSO has published these statistics ‘under reservation’ since March 2018 to alert users to the CSO’s concerns regarding the quality of PULSE, the underlying administrative source from which the statistics are compiled.
These are the only statistics the CSO publishes under such a quality label.
The review finds data gaps, because some PULSE data fields are not fully completed, in particular in relation to crimes with discriminatory motives, domestic abuse and the use of weapons.
Changes to the PULSE system to accommodate data capture of the relationship between complainants and perpetrators are currently being implemented by An Garda Síochána, the CSO says.
This change will meet a clearly expressed need for more information around this aspect of crime, the CSO says.
The report also acknowledges other improvements in PULSE data quality, such as the classification of crime incidents and timeliness of recording incidents.
PULSE data is collected and used for operational policing purposes. The CSO is not involved in the recording of crime and its initial processing and checking within An Garda Síochána.
The review does not include analysis of inappropriate cancellation of 999 calls, but the CSO has advised that this issue “may further impact … existing concerns”.
Recorded crime statistics will remain ‘under reservation’ and will continue to be published, given the important societal need to have information on crime in Ireland.
Statistician Sam Scriven said: “Recorded crime statistics are a vital information source on volumes and trends of crime reported to An Garda Síochána, and trust and public confidence in the statistics is critical.”