GSOC’s 2017 Annual Report has been published
The 2017 Annual Report of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) has been laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas.
The Annual Report is an overview of the work of GSOC for the year and contains statistics on complaints received and closed in the year; case studies; and information about investigations, including investigations in the public interest, opened and closed in 2017.
Keys figures in the report include:
- 1,949 complaints received, up ten percent on the previous year
- 4,459 allegations contained within those complaints
- 1,702 complaints (including complaints on hand at the beginning of 2017) containing 4,155 allegations closed
- 24 referrals received from the Garda Síochána of matters where it appears ‘the conduct of a member of the Garda Síochána may have resulted in the death of, or serious harm to, a person’—seven of these referrals related to fatalities
- 16 files referred to the DPP resulting in 10 directions for prosecution, five directions for no prosecution and one decision pending at the end of the year
- 422 criminal investigations opened.
The most common matters complained of were abuse of authority, neglect of duty, discourtesy, and non-fatal offences (allegations of a criminal offence listed in the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, 1997, for example assault, harassment or false imprisonment).
GSOC also made a number of systemic recommendations to the Garda Síochána which arose from practices encountered by GSOC in the course of investigations. While not central to the complaint under investigation, the practices indicate poor quality service to the public
Notable events for GSOC in 2017 included:
- The sanctioning of staff for a Protected Disclosures Unit. GSOC had made a business case to the Department of Justice and Equality for 12 additional staff members for the unit and received sanction for five, none of whom had taken up their roles by the end of 2017.
- The commencement of an investigation into alleged mismanagement of EU and Exchequer funds allocated for policing projects and financial irregularities at the Garda College, Templemore after additional specialist staff were recruited and specialised IT systems were installed.
- The establishment of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland whose brief includes oversight of the Garda Síochána.
In 2017, a decade after commencing its operations, GSOC undertook a major review of legislation governing our activities. The end result of that review was a Proposal for Legislative Change submitted to the Department of Justice and Equality and described in the 2017 Annual Report.
The Annual Report also highlighted GSOC’s requirement for enhanced resources and referred to a business case for additional staff which was expected to be made to the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform early in 2018. That business case has since been submitted, and GSOC is currently engaging with the Department of Justice and Equality on the matter of additional staff.
GSOC Communications & Research Unit