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Under Reservation Explanation

    These statistics are categorised as Under Reservation. This categorisation indicates that the quality of these statistics do not meet the standards required of official statistics published by the CSO.

    For further information please refer to the Under Reservation FAQ page.

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When did the CSO first become aware of concerns with the quality of recorded crime data?

The CSO first suspended the publication of Crime statistics in 2014 following the Garda Inspectorate report identifying quality issues in relation to the recording of data on the PULSE system. The PULSE system is the only source of recorded crime data available to the CSO to produce these statistics. PULSE data is an integral component of the calculation of Recidivism statistics.

In 2015, the CSO published a Review of the Quality of Crime Statistics. The CSO then recommenced publishing crime statistics but included caveats in relation to the quality of the underlying data. 

Since 2015, further quality issues have emerged regarding PULSE data and CSO took the decision in early 2017 to postpone further publication. 

What are the most recent quality issues and why did the CSO suspend publication of crime statistics in 2017? 

The Quarter 1, 2017 Recorded Crime statistics release, originally due for publication in June 2017, was postponed by the CSO pending the completion of an internal review of 41 homicide incidents by An Garda Síochána (AGS) and the investigation of concerns raised separately by the CSO in respect of PULSE homicide records. 

In September 2017, the CSO took the decision to further defer the publication of Crime statistics. This arose because work on certain issues raised by the CSO in May 2017 had not been fully completed and AGS had also decided to extend the period of their review of homicide incidents. 

Why did the CSO decide to resume publication of Recorded Crime statistics? 

As of Quarter 1 2018, PULSE data was subject to a number of separate ongoing quality reviews and did not meet the CSO’s standards for completeness and accuracy. The timeline for the completion of these reviews had been extended on a number of occasions and there was no firm completion date. 

The CSO is mandated to produce statistical outputs relating to economic, social and general activities, and conditions in the State. Crime statistics form a key part of such information.

By Quarter 1 2018, Crime statistics had not been published by the CSO for a 12-month period.  The long-term absence of impartial and transparently produced Recorded Crime statistics creates a vacuum for policy decision makers and for all interested citizens Therefore, the CSO felt that the over-riding public interest was best served by the resumption of publication of crime statistics, categorised as Under Reservation to highlight the quality issues.  

The CSO produces its statistics based on the most objective, transparent and independent data available. Reflecting our concerns as to the completeness and accuracy of the underlying PULSE data, the CSO is publishing all Recorded Crime statistics using the categorisation Statistics Under Reservation.    

The PULSE dataset is an integral component in the production of Prison recidivism statistics. Therefore, Prison Recidivism statistics are classified as Under Reservation.

What does Statistics Under Reservation mean? 

The new classification Statistics Under Reservation has been applied to reflect the fact that there are data quality issues in the underlying sources used to compile these statistics. This approach of differentiating statistics based on quality concerns associated with the underlying data is consistent with other jurisdictions such as England and Wales. 

In the case of Crime statistics, the new classification will actively alert users to the underlying quality deficiencies and inform them that further revisions can be expected as these deficiencies are resolved.

Are these statistics likely to be revised? 

Data quality issues raised by the CSO in relation to the recording of homicide incidents may also result in further revisions of homicide data. Some of the data quality issues raised could apply to other crime groups. It is possible that further revisions will be necessary to the Prison Recidivism release.

How long will the Statistics Under Reservation category apply to Recorded Crime statistics? 

The Statistics Under Reservation categorisation will remain in place until the CSO is satisfied that the level of accuracy and completeness of the underlying data is of sufficient quality. 

Who ultimately decides when the Under Reservation category is lifted? 

The decision as to when the Reservation can be lifted will be taken by the Director General of the CSO in accordance with Section 13 of the Statistics Act 1993. The Director General has sole responsibility and complete independence for all statistical decisions under the Act. 

What are the criteria for lifting this categorisation? 

The CSO is engaging with AGS to set out the criteria for the lifting of the reservation. These criteria are not confined to homicide data but will address quality concerns across a broader range of issues. They will address issues such as data governance, training, crime data recording procedures and the auditing and monitoring of data quality. 

How confident can the public be in crime statistics? 

The decision to publish using the Statistics Under Reservation category reflects concerns the CSO has around the completeness and accuracy of PULSE data. Data published under this category will provide users with the best information available while clearly identifying the quality issues and flagging where revisions are likely.


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