How we deal with complaints
Will my complaint be examined?Your complaint will be admissible for examination if:
- You were directly affected, or witnessed the behaviour complained of
- The alleged behaviour is considered as misbehaviour under the Garda Síochána Discipline Regulations 2007
- The complaint is made within 12 months of the incident
- The complaint is not false or misleading
Dealing with your complaintIf your complaint is admissible, it will be dealt with in one of the following ways:
- Mediation or informal resolution
- Garda investigation into complaints that appear to involve disciplinary matters, with reporting to the Garda Ombudsman
- Garda investigation into complaints that appear to involve disciplinary matters, supervised by the Garda Ombudsman
- Garda Ombudsman investigation into complaints that do not appear to involve criminal offences
- Garda Ombudsman investigation into complaints that appear to involve criminal offences
- A solution to the satisfaction of all parties may be found through informal resolution
- If it appears that there may have been a breach under the Garda Síochána Discipline Regulations, the Garda Ombudsman may make recommendations to the Garda Commissioner concerning disciplinary proceedings
- If it appears that the case may warrant criminal prosecution, the Garda Ombudsman may send a file to the Director for Public Prosecutions
- If there is insufficient evidence to support one of the above, the case may have to be discontinued
The law provides for a person whose complaint was about a disciplinary matter, and was investigated by the Garda Síochána and not supervised by GSOC (the second way that complaints can be dealt with, as listed above), to ask GSOC to review the investigation if they are not satisfied with the outcome as explained to them.
In these reviews, GSOC’s role is to establish if the investigation was comprehensive enough and the outcome appropriate (not to re-investigate).
GSOC does not have the power to substitute the decision or finding with a new decision. We provide a report to the Garda Commissioner, in circumstances where concerns in relation to how the investigation was conducted and/or its outcome arose. As the disciplinary process has been concluded, the case cannot be re-opened or the outcome changed, but it is hoped that the feedback may contribute to a reduction in similar issues in future investigations.
100 requests for review were received in 2015 (in relation to investigations completed in 2015 or other years). 86 were completed by year end. In two of these cases, following review, GSOC wrote to the Garda Commissioner concerning the conduct of the investigation and/or the outcome and/or the sanction applied. In the remainder of cases, no issues of concern arose with the manner in which the complaint had been investigated, the outcome of the investigation or the sanction (if any) applied.