Garda Síochána Analysis Service  ( GSAS) claimed the Award for Best use of Data Science in a Public Sector Body, powered by Next Generation,

Data Science is crucial in the public sector as it is where it can have the biggest impact on our day-to-day lives. This is a new award in 2017, that puts a special emphasis on acknowledging those who are modernising and improving the quality of the services offered by organisations who are motivated only to improve our quality of life and not by profit. The judges especially recognise the agility shown by the entrants to this award, as data scientists in the public sector often have to work with large legacy systems and within stringent regulatory requirements.

The team from GSAS presented on August 17th to our judges, get some insight into some of the great work they are doing. We caught up with Robert Stapleton, Strategic Senior Crime and Policing Analyst who submitted on behalf of GSAS.


We asked them a few question related to this year’s DatSci Awards.

How does it feel to be a DatSci Awards 2017 winner?

For our unit to be formally recognised for our work as data scientists by our colleagues in the data science sphere is a considerable honour and accolade.  We are absolutely delighted to have won such a prestigious award.  We hope this puts the Garda Síochána Analysis Service (GSAS) on the map in terms of providing analysis of the highest quality to support policing, providing analysis within the public sector and within the broader data science world.

Tell us about your winning submission:

Our submission involved analysts from all across our unit, both nationally and regionally, and so this award was a real team effort from GSAS.  The submission related to how GSAS used data science to inform an operation to tackle burglary in Ireland.  This analysis informed and supported Operation Thor, a national anti-crime campaign with particular emphasis on burglary.  We used a range of methodologies and data science techniques to inform the operation and in so doing help our organisation to target the issue of burglary.

What was it that first attracted you to Data Science as a career?

From a very young age I have had a love of mathematics.  I have always loved problem solving and when I began studying statistics I found it logical and fascinating.  I had also studied computer science as part of my degree and very much enjoyed this.  Data Science serves to compliment both of these well so it was a natural career choice.

Who has been your biggest influencer in your career to date?

Ah now that is a difficult question.  I cannot pick out any one particular individual as it would do a disservice to others who I have worked with.  It is easiest to say that I have worked with and studied with many brilliant people all of which have influenced me in different ways throughout my career to date.

Who do you admire most in the international Data Science world and why?

Another difficult question!  I admire many different individuals for different reasons.  I certainly have a great admiration for those who have the capacity to develop Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning tools and software solutions which are changing how we live.  I also admire those who have to work with less advanced software but use their agility in thinking to overcome these technical issues and impact on the quality of our lives for the better.

Do you work on any data projects/ Initiatives outside of your role?

Currently not.  I did however note with keen interest the DataKind stand at the DatSci awards and will keep them in mind as I get more free time into the future.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in Data Science?

Go for it, the world is your oyster!  The data science community is a great community to be part of and the opportunities to grow into whatever area you want is there.  It is a fascinating and wonderful career and I could not recommend it highly enough.

What is your advice for anyone considering entering DatSci Awards 2018?

I would urge you to enter.  The awards are about taking part and celebrating, and being part of, the achievements of the data science community.  While it is a massive honour to win, the whole process of applying and meeting and presenting to the judges was a great experience.  Not to mention the day of the awards themselves where we got to meet others in the community and see the wonderful innovations taking place across the data science world.

What did you think of the Awards Ceremony?

One word, fun!  It was great fun and extremely interesting to see what others are doing across the data science world.  I really liked the inclusiveness of having academics, public sector and private sector colleagues all celebrating data science together.  I met many interesting people and it was a great opportunity to meet others in the data science community and grow both personally and as a unit within An Garda Síochána.

Anything else you would like to tell us?

Keep up the great work!  The Awards are excellent and I look forward to being involved in them again in the years ahead.

Are you interested in hearing more about DatSci Awards 2018? Would you like to compete, enter or consider sponsorship opportunities? Let us know here!