Gardaí criticised for delaying Ombudsman inquiriesThursday 23 May 2013 22.31
The Garda Ombudsman has strongly criticised the Garda Síochána for delaying its investigations in spite of a drop in the number of complaints against members of the force last year.
It shows a drop in the number of complaints it received about gardaí, as well as a drop in the number of cases referred by the Garda Commissioner to the Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman has described the delays as unacceptable, but Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has rejected the criticism.
Complaints against gardaí were down by over 8% to just over 2,000 last year.
Cases involving gardaí in fatal traffic incidents, wrongful arrest and road policing were down by over 25%.
However, the Ombudsman has strongly criticised the Garda Síochána for delaying its investigations in both minor and major incidents, by not providing information and documentation within the agreed time period and in some cases refusing it.
Commission Chairman Simon O'Brien said the current situation is unacceptable.
But Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan today said it is not always possible to adhere to the 30-day timeline, which is not set in stone.
The Commissioner said both organisations have accepted it is usually not possible to adhere to the 30-day timeline, and that it is seeking an increase of up to six months in some cases.
The Ombudsman has complained that 73% of the 567 garda disciplinary investigations were over time.
However, Commissioner Callinan pointed out that these are inquiries conducted by the gardaí on behalf of the Ombudsman that each take on average 78 man hours.
They cost an average of €2,200 each, which is a total of over €1.3m for last year, he added.