The Deputy will be aware that in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the management and control of An Garda Síochána and the efficient and effective use of resources. This includes responsibility for Garda ICT platforms. As Minister, I have no responsibility for these matters.
An Garda Síochána is strongly committed to engaging proactively and respectfully with all members of society, and, in particular, persons from minority groups and diverse backgrounds. An Garda Síochána takes hate crime seriously and each and every hate crime reported to An Garda Síochána is professionally investigated and victims supported during the criminal justice process.
An Garda Síochána has in recent months adopted a Diversity and Integration Strategy. The Strategy includes a working definition of hate crime to assist Gardaí in delivering a victim-centred service and to assist them in responding consistently and robustly to reports of hate crime.
The Garda Diversity and Integration Strategy has a significant focus on enhancing the identification, reporting, investigation and prosecution of hate crimes. Key outcomes of the Garda Diversity and Integration Strategy include an increase in the reporting of hate crime, and to provide accurate and reliable data to inform intelligence-led policing to prevent and detect this crime.
As part of the Diversity and Integration Strategy, An Garda Síochána is upgrading PULSE to capture hate related motivations for all incidents (both crime and non-crime). This will enable the reporting of hate related incidents and more accurate collation of data in relation to these crimes and incidents. I am advised by the Garda authorities that the updated version of PULSE (R7.6) has commenced its final stage of User Acceptance and it is expected that it will be deployed by the end of October 2020.
The Deputy may also wish to be aware that my Department is working to update Ireland’s criminal law on both hate speech and hate crime as a priority.