How is Local Intervention done?
The Local Intervention process is aimed at resolving certain service-level types of complaints against members of the Garda Síochána at a local level without the need for the matter to enter a formal complaints process.
All cases received by GSOC are recorded initially on the case management system (CMS) as ‘queries’, and are not upgraded to complaints until there is sufficient information available to allow GSOC to make an admissibility determination. A complaint can only be admitted for investigation if it meets the criteria set out in legislation. The Local Intervention (LI) process engages at the ‘query’ stage, before an admissibility decision is made.
When a complaint is received by GSOC, GSOC decides whether or not the matter is suitable for LI. Only service-level issues, such as discourtesy or low level neglect-of-duty type complaints, are considered.
Examples of the issues which are considered for LI are:
Poor quality or standard of service
- Inefficient or no service
- Lack of communications or response
If GSOC is of the view that the complaint is suitable for LI, GSOC contacts the person making the complaint, explains the LI process and asks if the person will consent to having the matter dealt with in this way. The person is also informed that if LI is unsuccessful and their complaint is referred back for a decision to be made as to its admissibility, if it is determined as admissible, information obtained as part of the LI process can be used at that point to discontinue the complaint.
If the complainant consents, GSOC refers the matter to a nominated Garda Inspector who manages the process on behalf of the Garda Síochána. (If the person does not consent, GSOC will decide if the allegation will be admitted for investigation in line with the criteria and processes set out in legislation.)
The nominated Garda Inspector contacts the complainant by phone to identify what actions or outcomes he/ she is seeking to achieve. Typically, the Inspector then has a discussion with the garda member concerned to explore what may have led to the issue. The process is not about apportioning blame, it is about addressing the issue raised and learning from what has happened in order to prevent a reoccurrence.
The Inspector contacts the complainant again to advise on the action taken to address the matter:
- If the complainant is satisfied with the response, the Inspector notifies GSOC and GSOC confirms with the complainant that he or she is satisfied. GSOC then closes the file.
- If the attempts to resolve the matter through LI are unsuccessful, the complaint is referred back to GSOC which decides if the complaint should be admitted for investigation.
- If it is decided that the complaint is admissible, GSOC may rely on the information gathered during the Local Intervention process to discontinue the complaint. For example, if the information gathered explains the alleged breach, say, the matter complained about is civil and therefore outside the remit of AGS, GSOC will inform the complainant the breach is being considered for discontinuation. The complainant will be given the opportunity to further explain to their complaint, in order to see if it warrants investigation.