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Gardaí faced 71 bullying and 3 harassment claims in last 5 years, data shows

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(stock photo)

(stock photo)

Niall Carson/PA Wire

(stock photo)

Gardaí have been hit with 74 allegations of bullying, harassment, or sexual harassment over the past five years.

That includes 15 already this year, according to records released under FOI, which show a higher rate of complaints among female officers and civilian staff.

Of the 74 complaints recorded, the vast majority - or 71 of them - were categorised as bullying.

A single complaint of harassment was also reported as were two cases of sexual harassment, both in 2018.

The figures, which cover both garda officers and civilian staff of An Garda Síochána, show a relatively even split in gender for complaints.

Of the 74 allegations of bullying or harassment, 39 of them came from men while the other 35 were reported by female officers or staff.

However, according to the latest figures from gardaí, 27pc of officers are female and 73pc are men of a total force of 14,593

The gender breakdown of civilian staff of An Garda Síochána is almost exactly the opposite with just 28pc men from the 3,241-strong employee base.

Overall, for civilian staff and garda officers combined, 64pc are men, meaning the rate of complaint for bullying and harassment is higher among female employees.

Investigation

Not all of the complaints resulted in a full formal investigation, according to the garda records.

Twelve cases were not deemed bullying, harassment, or sexual harassment under official policy while seven further cases were withdrawn.

Gardaí said three more cases were dealt with through mediation in lieu of an investigation while 52 of the total were forwarded for investigation.

In 10 cases, the complaint was upheld but in another 20 instances, the allegation was "not upheld", the figures show.

Two of the cases that had reached a conclusion are now the subject of a further review following an appeal by someone involved.

Gardaí said another 20 cases were still ongoing, including 12 of the 15 reports that have been made so far this year.

Specific details on the nature of the individual bullying and harassment complaints were not provided.

However, gardaí said incidents included inappropriate behaviour, threatening behaviour, demeaning behaviour, verbal abuse, and victimisation.

In an information note, they said: "There are two policies in place to deal with allegations of bullying, harassment, and sexual harassment in the workplace within An Garda Síochána."

Procedures

They said for Garda members, a booklet was available outlining policy procedures for dealing with complaints.

And for civilian staff, a separate policy - which applies across the civil service - was applied to those working with the police. A statement said: "An Garda Síochána is focused on the health and safety of all its personnel.

"Commissioner Harris has spoken publicly before on the need, as outlined in the Garda Code of Ethics, for all Garda personnel to treat each other with respect and dignity."


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