GSOC initiated 557 criminal investigations into Garda activities in 2021
Last year, 557 criminal investigations into Gardaí conduct were opened by GSOC, a police station annual report released today revealed.
The Ombudsman’s GSOC in Transition report also showed that there were 59 referrals from Gardaí on matters where it appeared that “the conduct of a member of the Garda Síochána could have resulted in the death or serious injury of a person”. . This is an increase of 40 percent compared to 2020.
Of these 59 referrals, nine related to a death after Garda contact, six to deaths of individuals while in Garda custody (including individuals hospitalized while in custody), five to deaths of individuals during Garda prosecution and two on sex offenses.
34 of the referrals involved deaths.
Of the 25 cases GSOC closed in 2021 related to the 59 investigations, no criminal proceedings were initiated by the DPP.
In 2021, 2,189 complaints were filed against gardaí, a 12 percent increase from 2020, and more than six out of ten of these complaints were deemed admissible by GSOC and investigations were sanctioned.
In 2021, convictions against Gardaí on five criminal counts of sexual assault, assault and theft were obtained but referred by the GSOC.
There were also 60 findings of disciplinary violations by GSOC that led to the Garda Commissioner’s sanction of insulting Gardaí, the report said.
Disciplinary violations included, among other things, “failure to investigate allegations of abuse; discrediting behavior; failure to preserve evidence; abuse of office”.
An investigation found that the actions of Garda members may have saved the life of an injured person or prevented further injury when he was discovered on the ground with head injuries.
The report shows that the average time it takes to complete a criminal investigation opened by GSOC has increased to 311 days.
That’s more than triple the 99 days in 2016 and almost double the 162 days of the previous year.
GSOC said several factors are behind this increase, including the increase in the volume and complexity of cases and the impact of the pandemic on all aspects of GSOC’s investigative processes.
“Another longer-term factor, however, has been the issue of resource sourcing,” says the report.
GSOC Chairman Judge Rory MacCabe said despite the “growing caseload” GSOC is facing, its work in 2021 “sheds a positive light on the energy and commitment of staff at every level.”
“The far-reaching changes proposed in the Police, Security and Community Safety Bill, if implemented, will create a new Garda Ombudsman with significantly expanded capabilities and independence.
“These proposals are a positive platform from which to address a well-defined and long-signalled gap in Ireland’s police accountability infrastructure.
“Ensuring adequate resources, human resources, expertise and collaboration is crucial if the reform is to achieve its goals.
“It is my priority, and that of my Commission colleagues, to build on the preparatory work done in 2021 so that GSOC’s transition into the new role that the Oireachtas are fulfilling is seamless.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/gsoc-opened-557-criminal-investigations-into-garda-activity-in-2021-41666129.html GSOC initiated 557 criminal investigations into Garda activities in 2021