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.

  • Is GSOC part of the Garda Síochána?

    No, we are an independent body. 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
  • Will GSOC send my complaint back to the Garda Síochána?

    If your complaint is dealt with by informal resolution or if it is a criminal matter, it will be dealt with by a GSOC officer. If it is about a possible breach of Garda discipline, then it will most likely be dealt with by a senior Garda officer on our behalf. Sometimes GSOC will decide to supervise these investigations. If we do not supervise and you are unhappy with the outcome, you are entitled to ask us to review how the investigation was undertaken by the Garda officer. Read More
  • What happens following a referral under section 102?

    If a matter is referred to it under section 102, GSOC must investigate, with a view to establishing the facts of the situation and clarifying whether it may have resulted from garda misconduct. In many cases, this will require a GSOC investigator or team of investigators to attend the scene of an incident and work closely with An Garda Síochána teams there. Read More
  • 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
  • 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