GSOC looking for power to investigate 'garda culture'

The Garda Ombudsman Commission is seeking new powers of inquiry to strengthen its hand in dealing with the force.

Security sources say the powers being sought would allow GSOC to investigate "garda culture" and not just complaints.

It comes a day after the Transport Minister Leo Varadkar yesterday acknowledged that GSOC needed to be strengthened calling it a "toothless dog".

The Commission is already seeking new powers in the wake of the Guerin Report into the response to allegations from Garda whistleblowers which criticised GSOC for delays in providing documents.

Among the new responsibilities being sought are the power to investigate all garda members - including giving the commissioner the ability to investigate complaints made against Gardaí by their colleagues - and investigating Garda practice and procedures.

The overall aim of these proposals would be to give rise to a more independent GSOC and investigate the culture of the force rather than individual complaints.

More detail on their submission is likely to be given when the watchdog's senior staff appear before the Justice Committee on Wednesday.

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