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Emily Logan: Give GSOC the power to investigate claims of excessive force by gardaí

The Irish Human Right and Equality Commission is calling for GSOC to be allowed to investigate a wider range of offences.

Image: Sam Boal

THERE HAVE BEEN calls for the Government to allow GSOC investigate a wider range of offences.

The Irish Human Right and Equality Commission has made its submission on the Garda Síochána Bill 2013.

Under current legislation, GSOC can only investigate cases involving ‘death or serious harm’.

However, human rights commissioner Emily Logan believes this should be widened.

“Cases involving, for example, allegations of sexual offences or excessive use of force during Garda operations, may effectively be referred to the Garda Commissioner for investigation by Garda members,” she said.

To remedy this deficit, the Commission recommends that mandatory investigations by GSOC should be broadened substantially to include all complaints made to GSOC, unless that complaint is suitable for a mediated resolution.

In its submission, IHREC has also criticised that GSOC can sometimes be refused access to a garda station on ‘grounds of national security’.

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It has also highlighted concerns that GSOC is still using gardaí for investigations, instead of drawing officers from its pool of independent investigators.

Under the Bill, which amendsthe Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner will be brought within the GSOC’s remit for the first time.

It also extends the GSOC’s powers of investigation in relation to complaints involving suspected criminal behaviour and gives the GSOC greater autonomy in investigating garda practices, policies and procedures.

Read: Hundreds of women held a silent vigil at Coolock Garda Station tonight >

More: GSOC is getting new powers to investigate the Garda Commissioner >

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