How will I be notified of a complaint made against me?


Depending on whether the complaint is admissible or inadmissible, and depending on how it is to be dealt with if it is admissible, there are different notification processes set out in the Act.

If the complaint against you is deemed inadmissible, you will be notified in writing by the Garda Ombudsman that a complaint was made against you but it was inadmissible and no action will be taken. (See the question on inadmissible complaints for the reasons for this.)

Prior to an admissibility decision being made, cases are recorded by GSOC on its case management system as ‘queries’. At this stage GSOC may consider the query suitable for Local Intervention. GSOC will contact the complainant asking if they are willing to try to resolve the matter in this way. If the complainant is willing, a nominated Garda Inspector, who manages the process on behalf of the Garda Síochána, contacts the complainant by phone to identify what actions or outcomes he/ she is seeking to achieve. Typically, the Inspector then has a discussion with the garda member concerned to explore what may have led to the issue. The process is not about apportioning blame, it is about addressing the issue raised and learning from what has happened in order to prevent a re-occurrence.

(See the FAQ on Local Intervention for more information on this.)

If it is deemed admissible and not considered suitable for informal resolution or local intervention, GSOC will send a notification to An Garda Síochána, Internal Affairs. This notification will be forwarded to you through your Divisional/Regional Office. The notification will tell you the nature of the complaint, the name of the complainant, and the type of investigation to be carried out. This may be:

  • an investigation under section 98 (an investigation into allegations of any behaviour that may amount to a criminal offence). If this is the case, it will be carried out by a GSOC investigator. You can expect to be contacted by them during the course of the investigation to get your account of the incident, ask you about any independent witnesses or evidence that you may be aware of, etc. The investigator will give you their contact details so you can ask any questions or raise any concerns directly with them.
  • an investigation under section 94 (an investigation into allegations of any behaviour that may amount to a breach of the Discipline Regulations). If this is the case, it will be carried out by a Garda Síochána Investigating Officer (GSIO). It may, in a minority of cases, be supervised by a GSOC investigator. You will be contacted by, or on behalf of, the GSIO.
  • an investigation under section 95 (an investigation into noncriminal matters). If this is the case, it will be carried out by a GSOC investigator. You can expect to be contacted by them during the course of the investigation to inform you of the nature of the allegations and your rights and obligations, get your account of the incident, ask you about any independent witnesses or evidence that you may be aware of, etc. The investigator will give you their contact details so you can ask any questions or raise any concerns directly with them.
  • 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 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 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. Read More
  • How is Informal Resolution done?

    It is a means of resolving situations more quickly and effectively and without the need for a formal investigation under the Discipline Regulations. Time taken to close these cases is about one-third of the time taken to close formal disciplinary investigations. 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 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