Complaints relating to Covid 19
GSOC has to date notified Garda Síochána management of more than 70 complaints from members of the public in which an aspect of Garda enforcement of Covid-19 restrictions is mentioned as a factor.
While many of these complaints have yet to be assessed to see if they meet the criteria set out in law to be investigated by GSOC, GSOC took a decision to share information about these complaints with the Garda Síochána in order to assist Garda management in identifying issues which may be emerging in the enforcement of the restrictions.
The identities of people making these complaints and the identities of gardaí complained of are not included in the information being shared by GSOC with Garda Internal Affairs.
One in three of the complaints which appear to be related to the Garda enforcement of the restrictions or in which Covid-19 is specifically mentioned, allege gardaí were not observing social distancing or were not using gloves and/or masks.
Other examples of the types of complaints are that a garda was rude or abrupt at a checkpoint, or that a garda instructed a person to return home when the person said they were going beyond the 2 kilometre limit to go to the shop.
The Ombudsman Commission believes that sharing anonymised details in this way in real time will alert the Garda Síochána to concerns emerging from the public and allow Garda management address issues as they arise.
The information in the form of anonymised summaries of Covid-related complaints has been sent by GSOC to the Garda Síochána on a regular basis since the Government announced a set of restrictions limiting movement of people on 27 March 2020.