GSOC publishes set of ‘systemic recommendations’ on Garda policy and practice

20 Apr 2023

Publication is the first in new periodic approach to release of GSOC recommendations for improvement to Garda Síochána policy and practice.


Today, Thursday 20 April, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) published a set of ‘systemic recommendations’ for improvement to policy and practice in An Garda Síochána.

The recommendations, issued to the Garda Commissioner over the course of 2022 and also shared with other police oversight and human rights agencies, cover a range of issues identified in the course of recent GSOC investigations. These include issues relating to the preservation of investigative files, safeguards around vehicle pursuit, safeguarding and risk assessment in custody settings, and training of personnel regarding the application of extraterritorial jurisdiction.

The publication of this batch of systemic recommendations is part of a newly-adopted approach by GSOC to its long-standing practice of providing recommendations on policy and practice to An Garda Síochána. In addition to issuing such recommendations to An Garda Síochána, GSOC has now adopted a policy of disseminating them to other statutory agencies, including the Department of Justice, the Policing Authority, the Garda Inspectorate, and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. In addition, rather than publishing summaries of its recommendations once a year in its Annual Report, GSOC will now publish them in full on a periodic basis on its website. Today’s set of recommendations is the first published under this new approach.

Today GSOC Chair Rory MacCabe commented:

“During the investigation of an incident by GSOC, systemic issues of policy and practice are often uncovered, even where no individual wrongdoing is found. GSOC’s role then, is to identify if there are any systemic, procedural or organisational failures, that if left uncorrected can leave unresolved risk. We believe that the broader dissemination and periodic publication of these recommendations will allow for more timely, transparent and informed exploration of such issues, and better contribute to their resolution.”

The newly-published recommendations are available on the GSOC website HERE.



Notes to editor:

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) is an independent statutory agency set up in 2007 under the Garda Síochána Act 2005. Its function is to deal with complaints of misconduct by members of An Garda Síochána in an efficient, effective and fair manner.

Systemic Recommendations

During the investigation of an incident by GSOC, systemic issues of policy and practice are often uncovered even where no individual wrongdoing is found. It has been GSOC’s practice to bring such issues to the attention of the Garda Commissioner on a non-statutory basis, in reports called ‘systemic recommendations.’

Systemic recommendation reports briefly explain the circumstances that prompted the investigation, the evidence gathered, and any conclusions and recommendations that arise.

To date, in addition to issuing them to the Garda Commissioner, GSOC has published systemic recommendations in summary in its Annual Reports.

In 2022, GSOC adopted a new approach to the preparation and issue of systemic recommendations. Following issue to the Garda Commissioner, GSOC will now forward the recommendation, and any information or update arising, to:

  • The Department of Justice
  • The Policing Authority
  • The Garda Inspectorate
  • The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

Where a GSOC Systemic Recommendation is relevant to other strategies to improve policing or community safety – for example The Third National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence – the Commission will also share its recommendations with the relevant agencies and officials.

The recommendations will thereafter be published, on a periodic basis, on the GSOC website.

Systemic recommendations issued to An Garda Síochána in advance of GSOC’s new publications policy can be found in summary in its previous Annual Reports, available HERE.

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Systemic Recommendations issued from April to December 2022

925.35 KB pdf 20 Apr 2023