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Garda PULSE system "not fit for purpose" and should be scrapped

The Garda Inspectorate has also recommended scrapping the Pulse system.

A guard using Pulse in 1999.
A guard using Pulse in 1999.
Image: Photocall Ireland

A NEW SYSTEM needs to be introduced to help gardaí deal with crimes such as domestic and sexual violence, according to the Garda Inspectorate.

Chief inspector Robert Olson has also called for the PULSE computer system to be ‘retired’ as it’s no longer fit for purpose.

At a meeting yesterday, the Oireachtas Justice Committee was also informed that gardaí need to be able to keep track of criminals such as sex offenders when they are on bail.

Mark Toland, Deputy Chief Inspector, said there is an inconsistency across Ireland with how victims of domestic violence are treated by gardaí: “There are some very good experiences and some very poor experiences.”

Toland said there are dedicated domestic violence teams in other countries, something that could be introduced here. At present, the first officer on the scene of an incident of domestic abuse usually investigates it – regardless of their level of experience.

debra kirby Source: Oireachtas.ie

He noted that when people come come forward to report domestic violence “they may have already been subject to 30 other incidents of abuse or violence so it’s a big step for a victim to pick up a telephone or to walk into a Garda station to report an incident”.

Toland said gardaí have admitted to the Inspectorate that they have sometimes failed to record instances of domestic violence where there was a physical injury. He added this sometimes happened due to frustration with the system.


He welcomed the fact that a risk assessment process is going to be introduced here, whereby the first Garda on the scene of such a crime will ask questions about whether or not there has been a history of abuse and if there are children in the picture who may be vulnerable.

Debra Kirby, Deputy Chief Inspector, said that even if they are not going to be following up on domestic abuse cases, frontline staff need to be trained in how to deal with the issue on the ground.

Robert Olson Source: Oireachtas.ie

Also during the discussion, Chief Inspector Robert Olson said the current crime-logging system used by gardaí – Pulse – should be scrapped.

“It’s time to retire Pulse, you can’t do it right away, you’ve got keep it running but they need an entirely different platform,” Olson said, adding that the system currently uses “1990s technology”.

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Olson also said that the universal roster in place in Garda stations needs to be updated as it’s “not fit for purpose for criminal investigation, simple as that”.

He said that video links could be used to reduce the amount of time gardaí spend waiting in court.

In terms of anomalies in the penalty points system, Olson said several measures are bring introduced to avoid a repeat of the mass quashing of points as exposed by Garda whistleblowers.

First posted at 8.25pm, 14 January 2015

Garda whistleblower: The way I was treated destroyed me, my career, and my family

“We have started to look a bit closer at the purple eye-sockets, the broken ribs” — Enda Kenny

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Órla Ryan

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