Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Ceisteanna (175)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

175. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of complaints made to An Garda Síochána by insurers under section 19(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2011 in each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40955/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I have requested a report from An Garda Síochána in relation to the statistics sought by the Deputy and I will be in contact with the Deputy again on receipt of a Garda report.

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A
I refer to parliamentary question No. 175 of 9 October 2018, and subsequent questions 241 of 5 December 2018 and 312 of 12 February 2019, in which the Deputy asked for information pertaining to the number of complaints to An Garda Síochána by insurers under section 19(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2011 in each of the past five years. After making a number of inquiries with An Garda Síochána I received a report into the matter.
I am informed by An Garda Síochána that, prior to recent changes, a specific crime category relating to insurance fraud was not provided for on PULSE. As such, it is not possible to establish the number of complaints made to An Garda Síochána by insurers over the past five years, pursuant to section 19(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2011. However, the creation of a new crime category[1] in November 2018, relating to fraud associated with the making of an insurance claim, has introduced the functionality to quantify the number of such complaints in future.
The Deputy may be aware of the revised guidelines[2] from An Garda Síochána, published in October 2018, which requested that insurance companies report all cases of insurance related fraud to the relevant district officer (superintendent), with whom responsibility for recording such matters on the PULSE system rests, and to copy all such reports to the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB). This arrangement is designed to provide for better collection of statistics in relation to relevant complaints and to facilitate the exercise by the GNECB of oversight of insurance related reports.
An Garda Síochána also provided the following information in relation to the Criminal Justice Act 2011, which may be of assistance to you:
The Criminal Justice Act 2011 (as amended), contains a reporting obligation in relation to certain ‘relevant offences’. Section 19 of the Act of 2011 makes it an offence for a person to fail, without reasonable excuse, to disclose information to An Garda Síochána that the person knows or believes might be of material assistance in preventing the commission of a relevant offence, or securing the apprehension, prosecution, or conviction of any other person for a relevant offence.
The ‘relevant offences’ scheduled to the Act of 2011 are very broad and include company law, competition law, financial activities, fraud and theft. Examples of relevant offences include the provision of unlawful financial assistance, and carrying on the business of a company with intent to defraud creditors.
Section 19(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2011 creates an offence of withholding information in cases where a person knows or believes that a scheduled offence has been committed and fails to report it. This obligation is satisfied when the person reports the matter to a member of An Garda Síochána. The obligation is not to report to any particular person or section within An Garda Síochána and, thus, may be made to any member of the Garda Síochána. It is also not necessary that the report be in writing.
There is also no obligation to make a relevant report specifically under section 19(1) as it is actually an offence rather than a reporting obligation and in that context reports can be made without referencing Section 19(1).
[1] See recommendation 11 of the Report on the Cost of Employer and Public Liability Insurance:
https://www.finance.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/180125-Report-on-the-Cost-of-Employer-and-Public-Liability-Insurance.pdf
[2] Guidelines for the Reporting of Suspected Fraudulent Insurance Claims by Insurance Entities to
An Garda Síochána (Revised September 2018) .