If a matter is referred to GSOC, does An Garda Síochána have no further involvement in its investigation?


Chapter 4 and Appendices A and B of the Protocols between the two organisations are about investigations that coincide. Where a referral is made to GSOC by An Garda Síochána, GSOC has a responsibility to investigate the matter, and this may include investigation of civilian behaviour as well as garda behaviour.

However, in practice, a division of responsibilities is generally agreed between the senior officers of GSOC and An Garda Síochána at the scene and, based on this, there are generally parallel investigations by the two organisations. GSOC’s main concern will be to establish whether there is evidence that conduct by a garda member, be it criminal or non-criminal, may have contributed to death or serious harm.
An Garda Síochána will generally retain responsibility for the investigation of any possible criminal offences by other individuals involved.The above sections of the Protocols say that, if one organisation has what is considered to be a more urgent investigation, based on organisational or evidential requirements, that organisation will take the lead; and where both organisations are investigating matters of equal importance, the lead will generally rest with GSOC.
This will be kept under review by the Senior Investigating Officers of each organisation. Where there is an issue in determining the level of seriousness of the investigations, the matter will be resolved at a more senior level. If it is agreed that a GSOC officer should take responsibility for the scene, it may be necessary for garda members to operate under their direction at the scene. Instruction will normally be via the most senior garda officer at the scene, but may be direct if appropriate.

  • Can I make a complaint to GSOC about garda misconduct myself?

    Under the Garda Síochána Act, 2005, a Garda member cannot make a complaint about Garda behaviour in the same way that a member of the public can. However, under the Protected Disclosures Act, 2014, gardaí and others working for the Garda Síochána may now confidentially disclose allegations of wrongdoings within the Garda Síochána, to a member of the Ombudsman Commission. Find out more information by clicking the Protected disclosures link on the right hand side of the page. Read More
  • Will the garda/ the Garda Síochána find out that I complained about them?

    If your complaint is investigated, Garda Headquarters and gardaí involved may be given any information on your complaint form (including your name), in the course of the investigation. If your complaint cannot be dealt with by GSOC however, they will be notified that a complaint was made and the nature of it, but will not be given the details (including your name). Read More
  • What information can GSOC disclose about its investigations

    In deciding what and to whom certain information is disclosed, GSOC must balance its confidentiality and privacy obligations with its duty to be transparent and open in its work. People directly involved in GSOC investigations—including the people who make complaints and the gardaí who are the subject of investigations—have a legal right to be kept informed of the progress of the investigation which relates to them (click below for more information). Read More
  • Can GSOC prosecute or impose penalties or sanctions?

    No, GSOC is an investigative agency only. Following a criminal investigation by GSOC, the DPP takes a decision based on the investigation file whether to prosecute or not. Following disciplinary investigations, the Garda Commissioner takes decisions on any appropriate sanctions or actions. Read More
  • What powers do GSOC officers have?

    In criminal investigations, GSOC officers have all the powers, immunities and privileges conferred on, and all the duties imposed on, any member of the Garda Síochána. However, unlike members of the Garda Síochána. Read More
  • Can GSOC have my car released?

    Cars can only be released on payment of the relevant fine. Depending on who issued the fine, there are different appeals processes in place to try to get your money back if you believe the fine was unjustified. Read More