Belfast Telegraph

Some homicides not classified as crimes on outdated Garda IT system

Senior Garda staff said the IT system was not fit for purpose and needed a major overhaul.

Some homicides were registered as non-crimes on an outdated and inadequate Garda computer database, the force has said.

Twelve deaths out of 41 were reclassified on the 20-year-old Pulse IT system after mis-recording was discovered, an assistant commissioner said.

It followed checks with the pathologist’s office, which investigates medical causes of death.

Garda analyst Gurchand Singh said: “When we looked on Pulse it was not there as a homicide, it was often recorded in a lesser group, a non-crime group such as sudden death, or it was recorded as an assault.

“It was not corresponding, the report from the State Pathologist was not corresponding to what was in Pulse.”

The IT system is 20 years old and not fit for purpose. That is at the root of a lot of issues we are discussing Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn

Records on Pulse had not been updated but that did not mean cases had been improperly investigated, a senior officer told the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice and Equality.

Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn said: “The IT system is 20 years old and not fit for purpose.

“That is at the root of a lot of issues we are discussing.

“Technology has moved on massively in 20 years.”

He said promised investment from Government was needed but it would take some time to overhaul the system.

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Michael Finn (Oireachtas/PA)

A review is examining all homicide cases including fatal road traffic collisions from 2003 to last year.

Mr Singh, head of the Garda’s analysis service, said it would take five or six months to identify “problematic” incidents.

Mr Finn said 12 out of 41 cases had been reclassified, families of the victims notified and pointed towards further support.

He said: “In our IT systems it was not recorded correctly.

“However, in the investigation files you discovered they were investigated.

“In terms of the amount of work we have done and what we are doing, it would be unfair to say we are not taking this seriously or treating it as a minor matter.”

The committee was told that more extensive reviews were launched following the discovery of concerns with Pulse following an internal investigation.

Independent TD Clare Daly said the mis-recording had been traumatic for victims’ families.

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