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11 gardaí investigated for bullying following HR complaints in 2019

Statistics on bullying and harassment in the force were released under FOI laws.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire

AN GARDA SÍOCHÁNA has investigated dozens of complaints of bullying and sexual harassment by gardaí against other members of the force in recent years, according to figures released to TheJournal.ie.

Statistics released under the Freedom of Information Act show that 11 complaints of bullying were made within the force between January and November last year, eight of which were forwarded for investigation.

One of those eight complaints was subsequently upheld, and the remaining seven are the subject of ongoing investigations.

Last year’s figures represent a drop in the overall number of complaints in the previous two years, with 17 complaints of bullying by gardaí made in both 2017 and 2018.

Half of the 10 complaints which were forwarded for investigation in 2017 were upheld, with two not upheld and three still ongoing, pending an appeals process.

Five more complaints that year were not deemed bullying. One complaint was withdrawn, while another complaint was resolved through mediation.

Last year, 15 complaints were forwarded for investigation, two of which were upheld and one of which was not upheld. 12 are the subject of ongoing appeals.

Those figures represented a sharp increase on bullying complaints in 2015 and 2016, when 11 allegations were made in total, none of which were upheld.

Meanwhile, four complaints of sexual harassment were also dealt with by gardaí in recent years, with two complaints in 2015 and two complaints in 2018.

All four complaints were forwarded for investigation, with one allegation upheld each year. However, one complaint in 2015 was not upheld and one complaint from 2018 is still being investigated.

A spokeswoman for An Garda Síochána said the force recognises the importance of positive workplace engagement, and had two policies to deal with allegations of bullying, harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace.

One policy exists for Garda members, which outlines the policy and procedures within the force, while another exists for civilian members, which is issued by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform as a civil service wide policy.

However, the spokeswoman said that a working group is currently examining the possibility of incorporating gardaí and civilian staff in the force under one policy.

She added: “An Garda Síochána attempt to resolve disputes through mediation and informal talks prior to persons entering the formal investigative process.”

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