Gardaí investigated for selling access to case files

There appears to be an ongoing problem with a minority of Gardaí abusing their position by selling or leaking confidential information. The most recent episode involves allegations that Gardaí have been illegally supplying information to insurance companies. The Sunday Tribune has an update:

NEARLY 50 serving gardai have been interviewed as part of an internal inquiry into allegations that members of the force supplied confidential information to insurance companies to help them settle road traffic claims quickly.

The Sunday Tribune understands that a garda investigation team headed by Assistant Commissioner Eddie Rock has spoken to officers about the circumstances in which they came to enquire into routine road traffic accidents.

One of the investigation team’s main activities has been to determine if the Pulse crime recording system was improperly used to gather information about individuals. The investigation has been ongoing for 10 weeks and the unit has identified nearly 50 gardai who have used Pulse a significant number of times to look at the history of traffic accidents.

Every time a garda opens a Pulse incident it is electronically recorded, categorised and fully traceable.

It is understood that some gardai have accessed several hundred road incidents on the Pulse system and they are being asked to account for this.

Some gardai, mainly based in regional or divisional traffic units, would have cause to examine accidents, but the reasons why other officers accessed the information is less obvious.

One senior garda source said: “Between 40 and 50 guards have been spoken to so far. Every time you open Pulse it leaves a footprint and is traceable. If I am investigating a minor road accident in Dublin it is obvious that I would be on Pulse looking at the incident.

“If a guard in Carlow opens up the same incident, then there is less of a reason for him to be doing it. This is what this investigation is looking at.

Guys are being asked to explain why they did certain things.

“In most cases there is a simple explanation, but if a fella has opened up a couple of hundred road crashes for no clear reason, that is a different matter and would be hard to explain away.

“I very much doubt if gardai are taking money for doing it . . . it’s more probable that they are helping out their friends who are probably ex-members.

It may well also be the case that these ex-members are working for insurance companies and use the information to help settle claims, ” the source said.

The Data Protection Commissioner is also examining the claims while the Law Society recently released a statement encouraging people who believed that motor insurers used garda and social welfare records to help settle accident claims to contact the authorities.