GardaÍ are "actively working" on introducing a landmark IT procedure which will allow senior management to be automatically notified when particular records on the Pulse system are accessed inappropriately.
However, despite a suggestion by justice minister Dermot Ahern that the new system would be in place from July, it has emerged that this has not yet happened.
Responding to questions from Labour Party TD Joanna Tuffy, Ahern said the introduction of the new system was recommended following an investigation by the garda ombudsman into the alleged leaking of official material from garda sources to the media. "The ombudsman commission report recommends to the garda commissioner that supervisory ranks of An Garda Síochána should regularly monitor the use of Pulse to ensure that members adhere to their legal and disciplinary obligations with regard to its proper use," Ahern said.
"With regard to Pulse, An Garda Síochána have detailed procedures and instructions in place on the operation of the Pulse system. The Pulse system incorporates an accurate audit system which records all record creations and updates made on the system."
This audit record includes the date and time when the update on the system took place and contains details of the user signed onto the system at that time, Ahern added.
"In response to the report, a review to consider the matters raised and identify options for enhanced usage of the Pulse audit data in respect of the monitoring of data access has been conducted by the gardaí," he said.
"An 'exceptional activity level report' and related business process have been developed which will highlight to garda management specific Pulse records which are subject to a high level of data access activity occurring within a defined period. This new functionality will be deployed as part of Pulse Release 6 in July 2010."
However, asked about progress with the new system, a garda press office spokesman said an "IT solution has been developed and will form part of the overall strategy for data control measures in place within the organisation. We are actively working towards the integration of the newly developed IT solution."