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Minister McEntee notes publication of CSO release on Recorded Crime Detection 2020

  • 83.7% of drug offences in 2020 were detected.


  • The percentage of detections for sexual offences cases recorded in 2020 was 10.3%


  • Significant increase in detection of instances of Public order offences at 86.4%.


  • Initial detections for homicide offences, at 82.1%, higher than previous years.


5 November, 2021


The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, has today noted the third annual publication by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) of statistical information on Recorded Crime Detection, 2020.


The release identifies the percentage of crimes recorded by Gardaí in 2020 that had been deemed ‘detected’ by the 2 September, 2020. A crime is considered detected when a suspected offender has been identified and sanctioned for the crime.


 Minister McEntee said,


I note today’s release by the CSO, which provides an overview of detection rates for crimes reported in 2020. The figures provide a sound baseline on which to measure policing performance going forward. As we all know, during 2020 the public health crisis continued to influence the needs of our communities, and this resulted in a change in the demands on policing.


“Crime types are increasingly more complex and can require resource-intensive investigations, but throughout 2020 the Commissioner and An Garda Síochána remained committed to protecting people from harm in public, private and virtual spaces.


“Gardaí are achieving significant successes in a range of crime categories and should be commended for their efforts. Although I am aware that sexual offences case can currently take more time to go through the Courts system, I know tackling domestic, sexual and gender based violence is a priority for the Commissioner.


“Reforming our criminal justice system to make sure victims feel confident and secure in reporting these crimes, that Gardaí have the tools to pursue perpetrators, and that the Courts deal with these cases as quickly as possible is a top priority for me as Minister for Justice.


The report shows considerable variations in the proportions of the different types of crime incidents which were detected.


Compared to 2018 and 2019, there have been increases in detection rates in 2020 for homicide offences (87.2%), attempts/threats to murder, assaults, harassment and related offences (37.7%), burglary (22.4%) and theft (36.2%), as well as public order offences(86.4%). 83.7% of drugs offences were also detected.


However, there were significantly lower detection rates for sexual offences in 2020, where one in ten crimes were detected (10.3%). It is worth noting however that the updated figures for 2019 suggests that there is an increase in detection for sexual offences over a longer period following reporting of the crime, with the percentage of detection of such offences recorded in 2019 increasing from 12% in September 2020, to over 20% by September 2021. This reflects the fact that sexual offence cases can take more time to go through the Court system.


Minister McEntee added,


“Budget 2022 reflects the commitment of the Government to ensuring our communities are safe and that An Garda Síochána has the resources to be an effective and trusted policing service. Budget 2022 provides over €2 billion in funding and, in particular, the funding includes provision for the recruitment of 800 new Garda recruits and 400 Garda staff in 2022 - an additional 1,200 personnel.


“This increase in the number of Garda members and staff will deliver significant growth in operational policing hours nationwide and improved services to the public generally. Redeployment of Gardaí from administrative and support roles will also continue next year, thus allowing highly trained Gardaí to focus on frontline policing duties.”


In addition, Budget 2022 provides:


  • an additional €10.5 million for Garda operational expenditure – including provision for new mobile devices, equipment for a range of Garda specialist units and on-going training in relation to priority areas such as tackling sexual, domestic and gender based violence.
  • includes provision for a capital budget of €147 million for An Garda Síochána’s ICT and Building Programme and ongoing investment in the organisation’s transport fleet.
  • continuing investment in the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau, with ongoing expansion of the Bureau between this year and next, including the recruitment of 20 civilian expert posts at engineer grade.




Notes for Editors


An Garda Síochána were allocated an unprecedented budget of €1.952 billion for 2021, and Budget 2022 provides over €2 billion in funding.  This level of funding is enabling sustained, ongoing recruitment of Garda members and staff. As a result, there are now approximately 14,400 Garda members and over 3,300 Garda staff nationwide.


The CSO release - Recorded Crime Detection 2020 - can be viewed online at 


Recorded Crime Detection 2020 is the third annual publication of statistics on crime detection since AGS introduced new data governance controls targeted at improving data quality in the recording of detections in 2018. The publication is based on data recorded by AGS on its PULSE (Police Using Leading Systems Effectively) and FCPS (Fixed Charge Penalty System) databases.


A crime is considered detected when AGS have identified and sanctioned a suspected offender for the crime. Valid sanctions may include charges and summons, formal and informal cautions, and fixed penalties depending on the offence type. There are some limited circumstances where a detection is permitted even though no suspected offender has been sanctioned. The rules governing crime incident detection are outlined in the Guide to How Crime is Recorded and Counted by An Garda Síochána.


Crime incidents where a suspected offender has not been sanctioned are considered to be ‘not detected’. This occurs in a variety of scenarios, including where no suspect has been identified, where a suspect has been identified but there is insufficient evidence to support prosecution, or where a victim does not support further action. AGS are currently considering changes to how data is collected which could permit a more complete representation of crime incident outcomes. However, this is not possible based on the data currently available.


The time gap between an offence being recorded and a suspected offender being sanctioned is influenced by a variety of factors (e.g. gathering evidence, awaiting laboratory results or awaiting a direction for prosecution), and varies by crime offence type. Hence, crime incident detection rates tend to increase over time before settling. This may take longer than a year for some crime types.


Statistics published “Under Reservation”

In early 2018, the CSO announced its decision to resume publication of recorded crime statistics in the first six months of 2018. However, as PULSE data – on which the CSO is wholly dependent - is subject to a number of separate ongoing quality reviews and concerns that extended beyond just homicide data, the CSO made the decision that recorded crime statistics will be published in a new category entitled: “Under Reservation”.


According to the CSO, the classification of “Under Reservation” is in keeping with other jurisdictions and other statistical domains. This indicates that, while the statistics have been determined to be of sufficient quality to allow publication, ongoing issues mean that the quality does not yet meet the higher standard required of official statistics by the CSO.


Criteria for lifting the categorisation

The CSO is engaging with An Garda Síochána 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.