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.

If the complaint concerns a possible criminal matter and is being investigated under section 98 of the Act, 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, GSOC cannot prosecute on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). At the end of a criminal investigation, a file may be sent to the DPP with a recommendation. The DPP takes a decision based on the investigation file whether to prosecute or not.

In disciplinary investigations under section 94(5), which are supervised, GSOC can require the GSIO to keep it informed of the investigation; require interim reports; be present during interviews; and direct the GSIO to investigate further any aspect of the complaint. When GSOC receives the investigator’s final report, if we believe that a breach of discipline may have taken place, we will send a report to the Garda Commissioner with a recommendation (in accordance with the provisions of section 97 of the Act). If there is no evidence of a breach of discipline, the matter may be discontinued and a report need not be sent.

In unsupervised disciplinary investigations under section 94(1), undertaken by a GSIO, GSOC has limited involvement. The Act gives a complainant the right to request GSOC to review the investigation if they are dissatisfied with the outcome. GSOC may write to the Garda Commissioner following a review, if any potential issue is found with the way the disciplinary investigation was conducted, but GSOC does not have the power to change the outcome.

In non-criminal investigations under section 95, GSOC has a number of powers, laid out in section 96 of the Act. Essentially, GSOC can compel a person to attend and provide information that it deems relevant to its investigation, and failure to comply may lead to criminal proceedings. At the end of such an investigation, GSOC must always send a report to the Garda Commissioner, whether there appears to be evidence of a breach of discipline or not.

Upon receiving a report from GSOC, the Garda Commissioner takes a decision regarding any breach of discipline and the application of any sanctions.

  • 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 by clicking on Protected Disclosures. Read More
  • How long do complaint investigations typically take?

    The time taken to close an investigation depends on the level of complexity of the case, but to get an indicator, you can look in the Publications section of the website to find the median time taken to close investigations by type, per quarter. Read More
  • Can GSOC investigate conduct of off-duty or retired gardaí?

    Sometimes. A complaint against a garda member can be admitted if it concerns conduct off-duty which would be likely to bring discredit on the Garda Síochána. Investigations following referral, or initiated in the public interest, can look into the conduct of off-duty gardaí. Read More
  • Can I make a complaint about a GSOC staff member?

    Yes. We have a complaints process, whereby complaints about our staff are handled in line with the Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour. This Code sets out the standards required by all civil servants, including GSOC staff. Read More
  • Can GSOC get the Garda Síochána to return my property?

    No. If your property is part of a Garda investigation, it will be held until the investigation is complete. Then you must ask the Garda Síochána for it back directly. If you cannot get your property back at that stage, GSOC can look into whether any gardaí were in breach of discipline for not returning it. However, while this could result in disciplinary action against a garda, it is not guaranteed to get you your property back. Read More
  • Can GSOC get the Garda Síochána to investigate the matter I reported?

    No. We can look into whether any gardaí were in breach of discipline for any neglect of duty, or lack of action. We cannot oblige them to take any action. Read More