Questions raised over the authenticity of Garda crime detection figures.
Opposition parties have called for the establishment of an independent Garda Ombudsman in the wake of allegations about the falsification of crime figures. Fine Gael's Alan Shatter said the claims undermined the whole basis of the government's crime statistics. Brendan Howlin of Labour said it was not satisfactory that allegations against members of the Gardaí should be investigated by other members of the same force. They were responding to the appointment by the Garda Commissioner of a Chief Superintendent to investigate whether crimes committed in Waterford were declared solved when nobody was charged with committing them.
Once again, the integrity and reputation of An Garda Síochána has been called into question.
The problem relates to whether crimes recorded as detected have in fact been solved at all. On the Garda PULSE system, crimes must not be recorded as solved on suspicion unsupported by evidence. However, this appears to have happened.
Memos dated 1 January 2002 from a garda to a sergeant and onto a superintendent show that the garda believes two named men are responsible for 14 burglaries. He admits that he does not have enough evidence to bring the men to court but recommends that they are marked on the Pulse system as the offenders. Both the sergeant and the superintendent agree with the recommendation.
Garda Headquarters have confirmed that these documents are genuine and said that Chief Superintendent Sean Feeley from Naas had been appointed to carry out an investigation. Garda Press Officer Supt John Farrelly says that there is nothing to suggest that there is any wrong doing by any member of An Garda Síochána. He says that the findings of the report will be made public.
The report undermines An Garda Síochána's reported detection rate. The government and Garda authorities will now want to know what other crimes marked down as solved still remain undetected.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 14 February 2002. The reporter is Paul Reynolds.