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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Successfully submitted to the Technological University Dublin in part fulfilment of the requirements for award of Master (M.A.) in Criminology, September 2014.


The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) became operational in 2007. The establishment of GSOC was a new departure in the area of police complaints in Ireland and was only one part in a series of wide ranging reforms in the area of policing introduced at the same time. Since 2007 there has been limited research conducted on the operation of GSOC. Members of An Garda have never been given an opportunity to give a detailed account of how they perceive the operation of GSOC. This study offered members of An Garda Síochána, of Garda and Sergeant rank, an opportunity to express their views on the operation of GSOC, specifically with reference to GSOC’s effect on the legitimacy and accountability of An Garda Síochána. Participants were also asked if they perceived GSOC as operating in a procedurally fair manner. A survey was chosen as the most appropriate research method and 150 participants were surveyed in one Garda Division. Ninety four responded (63 percent) to the survey. The survey results demonstrate that while the majority of Gardaí welcomed the establishment of GSOC, members of An Garda Síochána have some concerns about its operation. Participants felt that GSOC had served to increase the accountability of An Garda Síochána but at the same time reduced it legitimacy. Participants further raised concerns about how GSOC conducts investigations and engages with the media. Recommendations arising from the study include the need for a review of the operation of GSOC, both in terms of policy and procedure. The study also recommends further research in the area, both of members of An Garda Síochána and other stakeholders in the police complaints process.