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.