Gsoc has received 169 complaints from the public over Covid policing measures

Gardaí have used the new Covid powers over 300 times since March.

LAST UPDATE | Jun 9th 2020, 7:46 PM

GARDA OMBUDSMAN GSOC has said it has received 169 complaints from members of the public where an aspect of garda enforcement of Covid-19 restrictions is mentioned as a factor.

The identities of those making the complaints as well as the gardaí who have been complained about have not been disclosed to garda management. 

However, details of the complaints are sent to management to highlight any reoccurring issues that members of the public have had with officers. 

A statement from Gsoc reads: “This information is shared to alert Garda management to concerns among the public in relation to the enforcement of restrictions and enables garda management to address any issues in that area.

“GSOC continues to deal with these complaints, assessing them to determine which can be admitted for investigation, in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act, 2005.”

The information relating to Covid-related complaints has been sent by Gsoc to gardaí on a regular basis since the Government announced restrictions limiting movement of people on 27 March 2020.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that gardaí have had to use their Covid-19 powers over 300 times since lockdown began. 

In a statement this evening, a statement from gardaí broke down the exact numbers. 

It found: 

  • Gardaí have invoked regulations 302 times out of over a million interactions – an increase of 13 in last week
  • 6 of the incidents took place over the last week, with 7 other new records relating to previous weeks
  • Pre-existing enforcement powers used in 2,018 incidents
  • 93 incidents of spitting and/or coughing against members of An Garda Síochána
  • 30,403 vetting applications for COVID-related roles processed. Garda National Vetting Bureau has been fully up-to-date throughout 2020 with all vetting applications with a current turnaround time for vetting applications of one day.

Gardaí said they continue to interact with the public on a daily basis with the vast majority adhering to the public health guidelines.

The 302 uses of the powers include both arrests and incidents without arrest where details like names and addresses were taken for consultation with the Director of Public Prosecution on the decision to issue charges. Arrest remains a last resort, gardaí emphasised.

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