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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 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 a Fixed Charge Penalty Notice cancelled?

    No. You need to contact the FCPN office to appeal an FCPN which you believe is unjustified. 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