Assist Ombudsman or face arrest, Conroy warns gardaí

Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy today warned his rank and file to fully co-operate with the Garda Ombudsman or face being arrested.

Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy today warned his rank and file to fully co-operate with the Garda Ombudsman or face being arrested.

The head of the force urged officers to be upfront with the official watchdog who will have power to arrest gardaí and search stations.

Mr Conroy also conceded there would likely be some resistance to the Ombudsman in the immediate aftermath of it starting its work next month.

"When something new is introduced it's only natural that members of the organisation, or indeed members of the public, would have concerns for a while," he said.

"But I'm trying to shift away from any of those concerns."

He cautioned the force that he was fully behind the right of the independent Ombudsman investigators to detain serving officers.

"Nobody should have anything to fear if we are carrying out our duties in an effective and efficient manner and also in a professional manner," he said.

"But if people think they can act outside the box, and do their own thing, well of course there will be arrests, and rightly so.

"Whatever is required of us to do, we do it. We help and support the Ombudsman with their investigations."

The commissioner confirmed that garda stations across the country would have to accept Ombudsman investigators carrying out searches without notice.

"Search will always be by surprise. It has to be because at the end of the day we do not tell people we are going to search, particularly if we are searching for evidence," he said.

"Every guard knows what a warrant entails."

Mr Conroy told the Association of Garda Superintendents (AGS) at their annual conference in Dublin that he wanted all officers to adapt to changes as the force is overhauled.

"My view in relation to the Ombudsman office and the Ombudsman's investigator is such that I want every single member of the organisation to co-operate fully with them in their investigations," he said.

"If they fix times for appointments and interviews I want our members of the organisation to turn up on time and make themselves available for whatever interviews are necessary."

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