Access to Garda records

Introduction

The Garda Síochána (the national police force) holds records that are gathered and stored in its work to investigate and detect crime, to protect life and property and to prevent crime.

Data protection laws give you the right to access certain information about you that is held by the Gardaí. An example of this information would be any entry by the Gardaí on the Garda PULSE system (the Garda computer system), or in Garda investigation files.

Rules

Can I access any data being held on me by the Gardaí?

Yes, but there are a number of restrictions on the data you can access. In certain circumstances the Gardaí can refuse access.

You can make a request to the Garda Síochána for a copy of any personal data that it has about you. On making an access request to the Gardaí, you are entitled to:

  • Get a copy of the data being kept about you
  • Get a copy of any data held about you that is an opinion (except where such opinions were given in confidence)
  • Know why the data is being kept
  • Know the identity of anyone that the Gardaí share the data with
  • Know where the data came from (unless it would be against public interest)

You also have other rights under data protection law, including the right to have any inaccurate personal information about you corrected or erased and the right to complain to the Data Protection Commission.

Once the Gardaí receive a correct request from you, they must reply to you within 30 days. This is the case even if they do not hold any of your personal data or they are refusing the request.

If the Gardaí decide to provide the information to you, they must:

  • Supply the information to you within 30 days of receiving your request. (If your request is complicated or involves a large amount of data, the Gardaí can extend this period to 3 months. They must tell you they are doing this within 30 days of getting your request).
  • Provide the information in a way that is clear.

If you request a copy of your criminal record, the record will be provided in 2 parts, with spent convictions provided separately from the other convictions (if any).

Why can the Gardaí refuse my request?

The Gardaí can refuse your request for personal data and can withhold that information if:

  • Your request for data would identify someone else. This also applies to the Gardaí's obligation to provide details of the source of the information. If the source or origin of the information identifies a third party, then it can be withheld.
  • It is necessary to prevent, detect or investigate crime, or for arresting or prosecuting offenders.
  • Due to existing or expected legal proceedings or claims.

Can somebody apply to the Gardaí for my personal data on my behalf?

Yes. The Gardaí may receive an access request by a representative on your behalf. You will have to confirm in writing that you are authorising this person to make the request. The Gardaí will need to be satisfied as to the identity of your representative and will have to be provided with enough information about you to establish your identity and locate your data.

An example of this could be where you authorise your solicitor to request your personal data.

Can the Gardaí access personal data held on me by other people?

Yes. In certain circumstances, the Gardaí are entitled to access your personal data. In such circumstances the person that gives the Gardaí access to your personal data will not be in breach of data protection rules against disclosing personal data to third parties.

The Gardaí are allowed to access such personal data if:

  • In the opinion of a member of the Gardaí (not below the rank of Chief Superintendent), the personal data is required to safeguard the security of the State
  • The personal data is required for the purpose of preventing, detecting or investigating crime or for arresting or prosecuting offenders

How to apply

How do I apply to the Gardaí for my personal data?

Requests for personal data can be made using the Garda Siochana data access request form (pdf).

You must provide enough information to establish your identity and to allow the Garda Data Protection Processing Unit to locate the information you request.

In order to get your own personal data, you need to provide the following:

  • Your full name
  • Your date of birth
  • Any other names used by you
  • A copy of a recent utility bill or government letter sent to your current address (within the last 6 months)
  • A copy of your passport or driving licence

What can I do if the Gardaí refuse my request?

You can make a complaint to the Data Protection Commission if believe the Gardaí are not following the law if they refuse your request.the personal data you requested, you can make a complaint to the Data Protection Commissioner. When you raise a concern with the Data Protection Commission, it will give you an update or outcome report within three months.

If the Data Protection Commission is of the opinion that the Gardaí are in breach of data protection law, the Commission may serve what is called an enforcement notice on the Garda Commissioner and make the Gardaí give you the information you have requested.

Where to apply

Requests for your personal data, or a request on behalf of someone else should be addressed to:

Garda Data Protection Processing Unit

National Vetting Bureau
Government Buildings
Vinegar Hill Lane
Templeshannon
Enniscorthy
Wexford
Y21 E924
Ireland

Locall: 1890 488 488

For all other queries about Data Protection in An Garda Síochána contact:

Garda Síochána Data Protection Unit

Third Floor
89-94 Capel Street
Dublin 1
D01 E3C6

Tel: +353 (01) 666 9521

Appeals or complaints about a decision to refuse you access to information held about you by the Gardai should be made to:

Data Protection Commission

Canal House
Station Road
Portarlington
Laois
Ireland

Opening Hours: 09:15-17:30
Tel: +353 57 868 4800
Locall: 1890 252231
Fax: +353 57 868 4757
Page edited: 25 February 2019