Garda records of violent partners 'incomplete or inaccurate', says Policing Authority

Judith Gillespie

Potentially life-saving information about violent partners on Garda computer systems is incomplete and inaccurate, the Policing Authority has warned.

Authority member Judith Gillespie said records not being kept up to date had implications for public protection and officer safety.

Ms Gillespie demanded reassurances from acting Garda Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin that records would be updated without delay when he and other members of Garda management appeared before the Policing Authority today to answer questions about the misclassification of homicides.

A review of over 500 domestic deaths between 2013 and 2015 flagged 41 for further investigation. Eventually 12 were upgraded to homicide.

They had originally been recorded as more minor crimes, including non-fatal assaults.

A much wider review of domestic deaths was now being carried out, taking in all cases between 2003 and 2017.

"There are lessons to be learnt from domestic homicides which can inform policy and protect potential victims in the future and protect first responders attending the scene of such crimes," said Ms Gillespie.

"You hold records on pulse (Garda computer system) which can inform risk assessments regarding tasking of resources and inform public protection so in this whole process it has become very clear to us that some critically important and potentially life-saving information on Garda IT systems is incomplete or inaccurate," she told Garda management.

"The updating of records on High Court outcomes for example is likely to concern some of the highest risk individuals and that has implications for public protection and officer safety," she added.

Acting Garda Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin

Mr Ó Cualáin insisted that work had already started to ensure the data systems were up to date.

"Some critical elements are already in place. We just need to ensure that has been embedded," he added.

The Authority was also told that a comprehensive peer review of the homicide figures was unlikely to be completed by September.

Mr Ó Cualáin said when the Garda became aware of the misclassification of homicides it "caused concern across the board".


Most Read in Ireland