What are my rights and obligations if a complaint is made against me?


Your rights and obligations depend on the nature of the complaint and the way that it is investigated, or dealt with.
  • If the complaint alleges a breach of discipline and GSOC proposes that you try to resolve it informally through a GSOC case officer, rather than via a formal disciplinary process, you have the right to agree or refuse. If you agree, you have the right to complete confidentiality during the process. Also, An Garda Síochána must delete and destroy any record of the complaint, if it is resolved informally.
  • If the complaint alleges a breach of discipline and is being investigated under section 94 of the Act, your rights and
    entitlements are laid out in the Discipline Regulations.
  • If GSOC is investigating a non-criminal matter under section 95 of the Act, your rights are laid out in that section and are, essentially, that you will be given an opportunity “to be heard” and “to present evidence and make submissions”. Section 96 states that, in such cases, you are required to provide any “information, document, or thing” and “attend before the Commission if required by the investigation”.
  • If the complaint concerns a possible criminal matter and is being investigated under section 98 of the Act, the GSOC investigator has “all the powers, immunities and privileges conferred and all the duties imposed on a member of the Garda Síochána”. In this context, you have the same rights as any other citizen.
  • What should I expect if I am involved in a matter referred to GSOC?

    If you are involved in a matter which is referred to GSOC, you will most likely be aware of this fact at the time. Otherwise you may find out when you are contacted by a GSOC investigator working on the case and asked to assist in establishing the facts. 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 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
  • 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 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
  • If a matter is referred to GSOC, does An Garda Síochána have no further involvement in its i

    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. Read More