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Recorded Crime Detection Frequently Asked Questions

    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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Recorded Crime Detection 2018 – Statistics Under Reservation

1. When were detection statistics last published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO)?

Statistics relating to detections were last published by the CSO in 2016 for reference year 2014, as part of the Garda Recorded Crime Statistics annual report. The report advised users about the quality of the source data received from An Garda Síochána which was used to compile the statistics.

Shortly after this, in June 2017, CSO suspended all Recorded Crime statistics following the identification of additional concerns in respect of the quality of PULSE data.

2. What is the rationale for resuming publication of detection statistics now?

The decision to resume publication of crime detection statistics now is based on ongoing demand for these statistics from users and, importantly, in response to new data governance controls introduced by An Garda Síochána specifically targeted at improving data quality in the recording of detections.

3. What data quality improvements have been made?

PULSE Update 7.3, released on 25 February 2018, introduced new data governance controls in respect of recording detections.

The mechanism for recording a detection on PULSE has changed. A detection is now recorded as an automated response to the recording of either a sanction against a suspected offender (e.g. charge, summons or caution) or, in a very limited set of circumstances, a verified exception whereby a suspected offender is not directly sanctioned (e.g. the offender is deceased).

The new governance controls support more reliable data outputs in respect of detected crime.

4. What is the impact of the data quality improvements on detection statistics?

The new governance controls support more reliable data outputs. It is important for users to understand, however, that the improved data quality constitutes a significant break-in-series for measuring crime detection rates in Ireland. Therefore, 2018 detection rates published today cannot be compared with figures published from before this change.

The break-in-series occurred during Q1 2018 (25th February 2018), so figures published for 2018 will include a portion of the year where the old system was in use. It will be important for users to consider this when comparing future years with 2018. The CSO will ensure that users are reminded of this when it becomes relevant.

5. Are these statistics ‘Statistics Under Reservation’?

The CSO continues to publish all Recorded Crime statistics using the category ‘Statistics Under Reservation’. An Garda Síochána have undertaken to introduce an effective data quality management system for the production of crime statistics, and this work is underway. The category of Statistics Under Reservation applies to all statistical outputs sourced from PULSE data in the interim.

6. What crimes are being reported on in this publication?

Detection rates for 2018 reflect those crimes which were reported to An Garda Síochána during 2018 and have since been detected (based on data extracted in September 2019). Detection rates for crimes reported in previous years are not published because the break-in-series, brought about by the implementation of PULSE Update 7.3, means that detection rates for 2018 are not comparable with previous years.

The proportion of crimes which have been detected specifically by charge or summons is published for crimes reported in years 2014 to 2018 . This is because the mechanism for recording charges and summons has not changed. These figures may provide a useful time series for users.

Figures are also published in respect of Fixed Charge Notices and Fixed Penalty Notices issued for certain offences, including many road traffic offences, which occurred in years 2014 to 2018.

7. What policing outcomes are included as detections?

Crimes where a suspected offender has been identified and sanctioned may be recorded as detected. Valid sanctions include charge or summons, formal (Adult Caution and Juvenile Caution) and informal cautions, and Fixed Charge Notices or Fixed Penalty Notices for certain offences.

There are some limited circumstances where a detection is allowed but a suspected offender is not sanctioned, e.g. the offender dies before they can be prosecuted, or the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) decides that prosecution is not in the public interest. These circumstances are outlined in the An Garda Síochána Crime Counting Rules document.

There are various circumstances where a crime is not considered detected e.g. an investigation has not identified a suspected offender, or there is insufficient evidence to support a prosecution.

8. When was the data for this publication extracted?

The time lag between an offence being recorded and a suspected offender being formally sanctioned is influenced by a variety of factors e.g. gathering evidence, awaiting laboratory results or a direction for prosecution. As such, detection rates are a point-in-time measurement (i.e. when the data was extracted) and increase over time as more investigations are completed. This affects some crime types more than others.

The gap between the end of the reporting period and when data is extracted for the purpose of compiling statistics influences detection rates. The data used to compile these statistics was extracted on 2 September 2019.

9. Have detection rates gone up or down?

Because of the break-in-series it is not possible to say, based on available data, whether detection rates have increased or decreased relative to previous years.

10. How do detection rates compare with other countries?

Policing outcome statistics are available for neighbouring jurisdictions (e.g. Northern Ireland, England and Wales) which indicate the proportion of recorded crimes which are resolved in different ways, for instance those which result in charges or summons. These can help to put detection statistics in Ireland into an international context.

However, it is not possible to provide a like-for-like comparison between detection statistics in Ireland and in neighbouring jurisdictions. Laws, offence classifications and policing practices are different. Further, the time gap between the end of the reporting period and the extraction of data for compiling statistics is a key variable, and one which differs between jurisdictions.   

11. What does the ‘Recorded crime rate per 100,000 population’ mean?

This is the ratio of the number of crimes reported to and recorded by An Garda Síochána relative to the population, expressed as a rate per 100,000 people. The figure allows users to compare recorded crime rates in different regions.

12. Why has an ‘Outside Dublin’ figure been introduced?

The measurement and comparison of urban and rural crime rates has been identified as being of interest to many users. It would be a subjective process to classify every Garda sub-district as being either urban or rural, and one which different users would likely not agree upon. As such the CSO has decided to present figures for Dublin (i.e. Dublin Metropolitan Region) and Outside Dublin (the rest of the country) alongside one another, to allow users to compare such figures if they find such a comparison useful.

13. Why are figures for convictions not published?

Detection rates for 2018 only are published in this release. The timeframe for the majority of cases to have reached conclusion in the Courts is too short. As time progresses, CSO would intend to analyse the courts data and include conviction statistics in future publications.

14. Will more information on offenders be available in the future?

Due to the quality of the detection data having improved, more reliance can now be placed on the quality of the associated suspected offender data. CSO intends to analyse these data in detail and to publish, in 2020, statistics relating to suspected offenders (e.g. gender and age). It is also intended, subject to the underlying data quality supporting it, to present information on the offender profile as it relates to victims (e.g. the age and gender of suspected offenders linked to the age and gender of victims).


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