Access to Garda records
The Garda Síochána (the national police force) holds records that are gathered and processed in its work to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute crime, and to protect life and property.
Data protection laws give you the right to access certain information about you that is held by the Gardaí. An example of this information may be personal data held on the PULSE system (the Garda computer system) or in Garda investigation files.
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 personal data being kept about you
- Know why the data is being kept
- Know the identity of anyone that the Gardaí share the data with
- Know how the Gardaí obtained the data (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 valid request from you, they must reply to you within 1 month. 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 1 month 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 1 month of getting your request).
- Provide the information in a way that is clear.
If you request a copy of your criminal record, personal data relating to spent convictions (if any) is provided separately to other personal data relating to criminal records or court outcomes.
Why can the Gardaí refuse my request?
In certain circumstances, the Gardaí can refuse your request for personal data and withhold that information. These include where:
- 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 others?
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)
- Photographic ID, for example, 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 3 months.
Where to apply
Requests for your personal data, or a request on behalf of someone else should be addressed to:
For all other queries about Data Protection in An Garda Síochána contact:
Appeals or complaints about a decision to refuse you access to information held about you by the Gardaí should be made to: