The Policing Authority welcomes today’s publication by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) of a new statistical release on Recorded Crime Detection for crimes reported to the Garda Síochána in 2018. This is the first time that the CSO has published statistics relating to detections since 2016, when statistics relating to 2014 were published. While as with all Recorded Crime statistics currently published by the CSO, this data is released ‘under reservation’ to reflect the fact that there are data quality issues in the underlying sources used to compile the statistics, it is nonetheless important that the best possible data is made available for public scrutiny.
This CSO publication confirms the concerns that the Authority has been articulating over recent years in relation to the reliability of detection figures, and data quality more generally. The level of detections across all featured crime categories has been a significant source of concern and the Authority has stressed the need for this to be urgently addressed. This has been an enduring area of oversight for the Policing Authority over the past four years, and was a prominent feature of our recent work in relation to both the Homicide Review and the Youth Diversion Programme.
This publication provides a snapshot of the extent to which crimes reported to the Garda Síochána in 2018 have been detected and demonstrates a marked improvement in Garda practice in relation to how detections are recorded in 2018 compared to 2014. In February 2018, the Garda Síochána introduced a new method for recording detections. An incident is now automatically marked as ‘detected’ only when a charge, summons or caution has been issued. In 2014, 18% of suspected offenders were claimed as ‘detected’ but no corresponding charge or summons record could be identified — in 2018, this practice has dropped to 1.4%, which is positive.
The Policing Authority welcomes this, and the evidence provided by the CSO today of improved recording. The Authority will be keen to understand the extent to which these 2018 figures provide a sound baseline on which to measure policing performance going forward. Today’s CSO release will be discussed with the Garda Commissioner at the December meeting of the Policing Authority and the Authority will continue to monitor the implementation of the new Garda Síochána Detections Improvement Plan, and its effect on detections figures.