Early Profiling

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WilsonLetterA letter sent by former Garda-turned whistleblower John Wilson to his bosses in October 2011.

In it, he raises his concerns about young children being recorded on the PULSE system as suspect offenders.

PULSE (Police Using Leading Systems Effectively) is the computer system used by gardaí since November 1999 and contains information about: recording crime; traffic management; progression of criminal cases through the courts, including the outcome; firearms licensing; driver licences; insurance; character vetting.

According to the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, information can only be put on the system for a clearly-stated purpose.

Mr Wilson alleges that hundreds of Traveller babies – one as young as 16 days old – have had their names put on the PULSE system, with each child getting a criminal intelligence PULSE number.

How this would happen, he claims, is that if a Garda stopped a car driven by a Traveller, and if there were children present in the car, those children’s names would be placed on PULSE.

Mr Wilson says that gardaí were encouraged to do this by senior gardaí.

Mr Wilson says  that gardaí are in the practice of stopping and searching young people in certain, “working-class areas”, under the Misuse of Drugs Act and that gardaí would put these youths’ names on PULSE and record them as having been searched for drugs.

Mr Wilson alleges that this uploading of names to PULSE would take place even if, during the course of a search, nothing untoward was found.

Mr Wilson said he has never received a response from Garda management in relation to the letter he sent two years ago.

Previously: Fingers On The PULSE