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An Garda Síochána

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 25 November 2021

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Questions (168)

Marc Ó Cathasaigh


168. Deputy Marc Ó Cathasaigh asked the Minister for Justice her plans to ensure that incidences of drink and needle spiking are being recorded and categorised on the PULSE system in order to ascertain the scale of the crime; if there is flexibility in the categorisation and de-aggregation of data available from the system; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [57998/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

Spiking a person’s drink or spiking someone by injection are obviously very serious offences. They are, in effect, poisoning and they are criminal offences, under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997, that can result in a three year prison term.

I can assure the Deputy that any incident of this type of crime, including those with evidence to suggest a link with ‘spiking’, will be investigated by either local Gardaí supported by, or attached to, Divisional Protective Services Units.

As the Deputy will appreciate, under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 (as amended), the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the management and administration of Garda business, including the direction of investigation priorities for the organisation and the management of the PULSE system.

I am unable to provide any information regarding the management of PULSE or the manner in which information is stored on and retrieved from the system. As Minister, I play no role in these independent functions.

For the Deputy's information, I have been advised by the Garda authorities that identifying incidents which involve drink or needle spiking is dependent on the use of keywords in the incident narrative or investigation notes. A search was carried out for incidents reported between 01/01/2021 and 21/11/2021 which include any of the following terms in the narrative or investigation notes: “spike”, “spiking” “needle”, “syringe” or “date rape”. Some incidents contained these terms but did not relate to drink or needle spiking.

I am advised by the Garda authorities that this search indicates that, as of 21 November 2021, there have been 46 crime incidents recorded nationally this year. 25 of these incidents specifically refer to syringes or needles. The remaining 21 either refer to drink spiking or do not specify the method of spiking.

Figures are based on data obtained from PULSE on 22/11/2021. Crime counting rules are not applied. All figures are operational and liable to change.