How is Informal Resolution done?
It is a means of resolving situations more quickly and effectively and without the need for a formal investigation under the Discipline Regulations. Time taken to close these cases is about one-third of the time taken to close formal disciplinary investigations.
The process involves a GSOC Officer engaging with you and with the complainant by telephone. There are no face-to-face meetings.
The objective is that, by the end of the process, each party better understands the other’s point of view and/or the circumstances which led to the incident giving rise to the complaint. Often, to know that an issue that upset or bothered them was brought to your attention, is enough for a complainant to consider the matter resolved. Sometimes, clarification of a misunderstanding, by one or both people, can lead to resolution of the issue.
A case is considered resolved when both parties agree that no further action is necessary.
If a resolution cannot be reached, the case may be escalated to a formal investigation under the Garda Síochána Discipline Regulations 2007, or it may be closed, if it is unlikely that such an investigation could realistically make a finding one way or the other. Should a disciplinary investigation be conducted, none of the confidential information obtained after consent to the Informal Resolution process may be used.
Consent of both parties is required for Informal Resolution.
These are the advantages for gardaí:
- Informal resolution (IR) is a means of resolving situations more quickly and effectively, without an official disciplinary process.
- Consent to this process is not taken as an admission of any wrongdoing.
- All conversations had with you after consent are confidential and information obtained may not be used outside the IR process.
- If the complaint can be resolved informally, the matter is not recorded (GSOC advises An Garda Síochána of the resolution and to “expunge” any record of the complaint, in compliance with section 90(6) of the Act.)