As the Deputy will be aware, there has been an unprecedented level of investment in An Garda Síochána in recent years, in support of the Government’s commitment to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country, including a budgetary allocation to An Garda Síochána of €1.76 billion for 2019. Significant capital investment is also being made in An Garda Síochána, including a total of €342 million being invested in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021 to enable An Garda Síochána to deploy the latest cutting edge technologies. A total of €46 million is being invested in the Garda fleet over the same period.
As the Deputy will appreciate, decisions in relation to the provision, allocation and management of Garda equipment and resources are matters for the Garda Commissioner. As Minister, I have no role in these matters.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that PULSE downtime for scheduled system upgrades typically occurs twice a year, and is completed within the course of the scheduled day.
I am further informed by the Garda authorities that when scheduled downtime for a PULSE release occurs, members of An Garda Síochána are notified and informed when and how long the PULSE release will take. Where an incident occurs during the PULSE release update, Garda members will record it on PULSE after the release has been deployed.
In relation to the recording of road safety data, the Deputy will be aware that the C(T)68 form is an internal collision report that is generated as a result of information contained on the Garda PULSE system. The report serves An Garda Síochána for operational purposes and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) for statistical purposes. The RSA has a statutory remit to collect, compile and publish information obtained from the C(T)68 form for national or international planning, policy research and development, monitoring and reporting purposes. The operation and administration of form C(T)68 is reviewed on an ongoing basis by An Garda Síochána.
Finally, the Deputy may wish to be aware that An Garda Síochána is currently developing a new Digital Strategy, taking account of the recommendations of the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland and that the future of the PULSE system will be one of the elements addressed in this strategy.