Garda used Pulse to snoop for new girlfriend’s details

A garda who went snooping for personal details on a new girlfriend on the Garda Pulse system received one of 75 sanctions imposed on gardaí by the Garda authorities last year.

In the case, the Garda Siochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) investigated the woman’s claims that her ex-partner had accessed her personal details through the Garda Síochána Pulse system.

The details of the case are disclosed in the Gsoc annual report for 2016 and in the case, the woman told Gsoc that the garda had told her he had looked her up on the system when they had first started dating.

An examination of the Pulse system showed that the garda had accessed the woman’s details.

Gsoc carried out a non-criminal investigation into the claim and the garda involved was interviewed and admitted accessing his former partner’s details and that it was not in an official capacity.

According to Gsoc, the garda concerned was found to be in breach of discipline and sanctioned.

In another case, two gardaí were sanctioned by their superiors for the manner in which they investigated allegations that a teenager had been sexually assaulted by an adult neighbour.

In the case, the teen’s parents complained to Gsoc that the Garda investigation was unnecessarily delayed, resulting in loss of evidence, and that vital witnesses were not interviewed.

A Garda superintendent investigated the parents’ complaints and was supervised by a Gsoc officer.

The Superintendent’s recommendations were endorsed by Gsoc and two of the six gardaí investigated were found to be in breach of the Garda (Discipline) Regulations 2007 and were sanctioned.

Of the 75 sanctions imposed on gardaí, the total included 22 fines; ‘advice’ issued in 30 instances; 11 cautions issued; nine warnings issued and three reprimands.

The report confirms that Gsoc referred a further 13 cases to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to decide if a prosecution should take place or not.

In total last year, Gsoc finalised 1,706 complaints involving 3,839 allegations. However, in respect of 1,850 allegations, the cases were discontinued where further investigation was not necessary or reasonably practicable.

In respect of a further 524 allegations, no breach of discipline was identified while the allegations were withdrawn in relation to a further 154 allegations while no misbehaviour in the criminal investigation by GSOC of 33 allegations was identified.

In 2016, Gsoc received 1,758 complaints containing 3,768 allegations — a 12% decrease on the numbers of complaints it had received in 2015.

The types of allegations were similar to previous years, with about one-third related to abuse of authority and one-third to neglect of duty.


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