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Review of the Quality of Recorded Crime Statistics 2023

Executive Summary

CSO statistical publication, , 11am

This report outlines the findings of a fifth review of the quality of Garda PULSE data and has been carried out by the CSO based on recorded crime data covering the period from January to March 2023. The focus of this review, like previous versions, is to examine the quality of the source data in terms of published official statistics.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) compiles and publishes Recorded Crime statistics for Ireland. Recorded Crime statistics are intended to inform users about the set of criminal offences which are reported to, or become known to, An Garda Síochána (AGS), Ireland’s national police and security service. The statistics are compiled using administrative data recorded by AGS on its PULSE (Police Using Leading Systems Effectively) crime incident database.

Since March 2018, the CSO has applied a categorisation of Statistics Under Reservation to Recorded Crime statistics to inform users that the CSO has concerns about the quality of the data source.

This review has examined the PULSE data and assessed the quality management system in place for PULSE data collection and quality checking, the details of which are contained in this review. The quality management controls added over time and focus on risk management enables CSO to lift this “Under Reservation” status. This review concludes that Garda PULSE data is fit for official statistics purposes, while also noting the improved data for operational policing purposes. CSO makes this recommendation because the terms of our various key recommendations from the Quality Improvement Proposal from 2018 and CSO Quality Reviews have been met, principally:

  • The development and implementation of a formal data quality management system for PULSE that ensures fit-for-purpose crime data (developments throughout 2022 & 2023 culminating in quality checking and publishing of those results, with a focus on risk management).
  • As part of this fifth CSO Quality Review, we have conducted our standard quality checking of PULSE data and have found consistent evidence of high quality levels.

The reservation is lifted for the recorded crime series disseminated by CSO from Q1 2023. The recorded crime series has been progressively improving over time with the cumulative impact of the improved data quality, assessment and assurance measures being seen in a higher data quality level as noted in various CSO reviews in recent years. CSO will continue to inform users of the quality of the data they are using, and particular issues which may need to be noted around time series comparability as they arise. 

AGS has worked over the past number of years to advance the assurance levels which can be provided around Garda PULSE data. As with all data series, there is never a risk-free data collection process, particularly for something as complex as crime incident recording, but what CSO has seen is a much-enhanced sense within AGS of the risks to PULSE data quality and the controls and resources needed to manage those risks. The controls in place and the quality checking and reporting being done by AGS (with more to be added), coupled with CSO reserving the right to do its own reviews, provides a level of assurance warranting the lifting of the reservation caveat. The CSO wishes to thank AGS for their ongoing co-operation and professionalism in dealing with these matters.