The Garda policing plan sets out the strategic goals and measurable performance indicators for the Garda Síochána for the year. I am informed by the Garda authorities that the statistical information provided in the evaluation of the Garda Síochána Policing Plan 2002, contained in the commissioner's annual report for 2002, is sourced from several places, including academic research programmes, overseas national and international organisations, for example, Interpol and the UK Home Office, in addition to internal Garda research.
In the case of the statistics produced by the Garda Síochána, they accurately depict the information in question in each case and in the case of statistics sourced from other bodies, they are accurately reproduced. All statistics in the annual report are subjected to a stringent validation process before publication. In January 2003, I established, with Government approval, an expert group on crime statistics to examine the methods of collation and presentation of crime statistics by the Garda Síochána and other organisations involved in criminal prosecution. I look forward to receiving its report in the near future.