By Rebecca Black, PA
There have been almost 30 suspensions of members of An Garda Síochána due to either sexual or domestic issues.
The figures emerged as Garda Commissioner Drew Harris appeared at a meeting of the Policing Authority on Thursday.
He was asked about Garda officers having inappropriate relationships with victims of crime, whether by social media, text message, verbal or physical relations.
Mr Harris advised anyone who felt like they were in that position to make a complaint to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC).
“GSOC is an independent organisation and they will investigate this,” he said.
“Obviously then we would become aware, we would regard this as being very serious and we would have to go through all our requirements to protect other members of public as well.”
Mr Harris said there are a number of investigations currently with the GSOC.
Assistant Commissioner Patrick Clavin said there are 16 suspensions related to sexual complaints and another 10 suspensions related to domestic violence claims.
He said while the numbers are small, it has a “disproportionately detrimental impact on confidence and reputation”, adding that the anti-corruption unit is also looking at this area.
“Sometimes you won’t get a complaint, sometimes it will appear to be consensual so I think it’s important for us to police this ourselves and not just wait on the unfortunate victim to have to come forward,” he said, adding that often complaints are made by a colleague concerned about a situation and who wants to raise the alarm.