Reporting a crime

Introduction

If you are in Ireland and are a victim of a crime or witness a crime, you should contact the Garda Síochana (Irish police force). The emergency services’ telephone number is 999 or 112.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired, you can report a crime by SMS text message on 112. However, you must first register your phone number on the 112 SMS service and it must only be contacted in the event of an emergency.

In less urgent situations, you should contact your local Garda station to report a crime. If it would make you more comfortable, you can request to speak to a male or female Garda. If you do not speak English fluently, the Gardaí can provide free translation services to you. If you are unable to go to a Garda Station, you can request that a Garda comes to your home to take a report.

You can report incidents of dangerous driving and other traffic-related incidents to the Garda Traffic Watch hotline on 1890 205 805.

Phone and online services

Although it will assist the Gardaí if you provide as much information as possible, you do not have to give your name when reporting a crime. If you wish to provide confidential information relating to crime or other activities, you can:

  • Contact the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.
  • Contact Crimestoppers on 1800 250 025. Staffed by members of the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Crimestoppers guarantees anonymity and offers cash rewards for information.

The Gardaí operate a dedicated phone line for purpose of reporting child sexual abuse: 1800 555 22.

You can also find information on reporting a missing person on the Garda website.

How to report drug dealing

Drug dealing is a serious problem affecting communities across Ireland. One of the biggest barriers to dealing effectively with drug dealers is the use of intimidation by drug dealers to prevent people from reporting their crime.

Anyone wishing to pass on information on drug dealing should call the Crimestoppers freephone confidential number 1800 25 00 25 or the Garda Confidential freephone number 1800 666 111.You will get through to a trained operator who will ask you for your information and nothing more. You will not be asked for your name and your number will not be traced. No one will know that you have called.

The information gathered is passed on directly to the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) which assesses its usefulness. The GNDOCB passes relevant information on to the Gardaí in the specified area for investigation. The Gardaí can use the information to build a case against a known drug dealer, to investigate new allegations of drug dealing activity in a community or to make an arrest.

Online services

You can report certain thefts online using a declaration of theft of property form. The online form should only be used where the property stolen is worth less than €1,000.

You can also report hate crime online. A hate crime is a criminal act that can be perceived as motivated by hostility or prejudice.

What happens when I report a crime?

An investigation begins when a complaint is made to the Garda Síochana by a victim or other person. If you are the victim of a crime, you will be asked to make a statement explaining, in detail, the incident that took place.

A Garda will write down your account and read it back to you. Once you are happy that the statement accurately reflects your complaint, you will be asked to sign it. The matter can then be investigated by the Gardaí.

The Crime Victims Helpline, a listening and support service for victims of crime, have produced a useful video outlining this process.

When you report a crime, when you make a statement and during subsequent interviews, you are entitled to bring somebody with you for support, including a legal representative (solicitor). However, the Gardaí may request you choose a different person or legal representative if they think it is in your best interest, or if they think the person you have chosen could interfere with the investigation.

After reporting a crime, you should receive a letter from the Garda Victim Service Office that provides you with the investigating Garda’s name and your case number. You also have a right to request a copy of your statement. In some cases, such as those involving sexual assault or domestic violence, a letter may not sent but contact may be made in person.

Read more about victims of crime and the Garda Síochana. You can also access detailed information about support services available to victims of crime, including information about compensation schemes.

Reporting a crime that occurred in another EU country

If you were a victim of a crime in another EU country, you can report the crime to the Gardaí in Ireland.

The details of your complaint should then be forwarded by the Gardaí to the appropriate law enforcement agency in the EU country where the crime occurred.

What happens during an investigation?

A Garda investigation can involve a review of CCTV footage, the interviewing of witnesses and scene of crime investigations, including checking for fingerprints. As part of the investigation, you may need to be interviewed or subjected to a medical examination but all such interventions should be kept to a minimum.

You have the right to ask the Gardaí to keep you informed about significant developments in the investigation. However, you are not entitled to any information that could interfere with the investigation or put anyone in danger.

If any property is taken from you as part of the investigation, you should get it back without delay, if possible. However, if it has to be used as evidence in a criminal trial, you might not get it back until the court case is finished.

Prosecution

A Garda file is compiled with all relevant evidence and, depending on the nature of the offence under investigation, it is sent to a senior Garda or to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for a decision on whether or not to prosecute the case in court.

For less serious crimes, such as public order offences, some traffic offences and minor assaults, the case is prosecuted by the Gardaí in the District Court.

For more serious crimes, the file is referred to the DPP who decides where and whether to prosecute or not. In these cases the prosecution is carried out by the office of the DPP, usually in the Circuit Court or Central Criminal Court.

Find out more about victims of crime and the state prosecution service. You can also access detailed information on victims of crime and the courts.

What if nobody is prosecuted?

Sometimes the Gardaí can decide to stop investigating a crime without identifying a suspect – a person who they think committed the crime. If this happens, you have a right to ask for a summary of the reasons for this decision.

In other cases, the Gardaí or DPP can decide not to prosecute an identified suspect. Again, you have a right to ask for a summary of the reasons for this decision.

You can also request a review of a decision not to prosecute. You must send your request for a review within 56 days of being notified of the decision not to prosecute. Or, if you have asked to be given a summary of reasons for the decision, you have 28 days from the date that you receive the summary to make your request.

Read more about how to request reasons not to prosecute and reviews on the DPP website.

Further information

The Crime Victims Helpline has compiled a comprehensive list of services and supports available for victims of crime, as well as detailed advice for coping with the impact of crime.

The DPP has published a range of accessible handbooks that deal with the prosecution of criminal cases.

You will also find valuable information on crimevictimsrights.ie, which lists a wide range of general and specialised support services that are available to victims of crime in Ireland and abroad.

If you believe a member of An Garda Síochána may have committed a crime in the course of duty or a serious offence while off duty, you can also make a complaint to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.

Garda Headquarters

Garda Press and Public Relations Office

Phoenix Park
Dublin 8
Ireland

Tel: (01) 666 0000
Fax: (01) 666 2033

Courts Service

15-24 Phoenix Street North
Smithfield
Dublin 7
Ireland

Tel: +353 (0)1 888 6000

Director of Public Prosecutions

Infirmary Road
Dublin 7
Ireland

Tel: +353 (0)1 858 8500

Page edited: 23 July 2021