‘Extensive investigation’ into allegations of gardaí extorting food-delivery workers

An internal Garda inquiry into the alleged theft of money from a Deliveroo rider has developed into an “extensive criminal investigation” into the extortion of money from food-delivery workers by gardaí.

Four gardaí have now been suspended amid concerns members serving in a south Dublin Garda station have been involved in “taxing” riders – demanding money from them in return for letting them carry out their work unimpeded.

At least one garda is suspected of demanding relatively small amounts of money – typically less than €50 – from multiple workers after stopping them, ostensibly on suspicion of drug offences.

One of the gardaí was suspended in November, and another three were suspended this week as the scope of the investigation by the Garda Anti-Corruption Unit investigation widens, Garda headquarters confirmed.

The latest suspensions were accompanied by several searches by anti-corruption gardaí, including the search of a Garda station and members’ lockers.

Senior sources described it as an “extensive criminal investigation” but stressed no findings of wrongdoing have yet been reached against the suspended members.

Earlier this year a female Deliveroo rider claimed she was stopped and spoken to by two men who presented as Garda members before they went to her home and carried out a search there.

After the search, the woman, who is a foreign national, claimed a number of items, including money, were missing. She suspected the two men were not Garda members and so she contacted her local station and made a complaint alleging theft.

The woman worked with investigators to formulate evo-fits – similar to sketch drawings – of the two men she interacted with.

When the drawings were finalised and circulated to Garda stations, one of the gardaí involved in the search identified himself as one of the men in the drawings.

He has said it was a legitimate search operation as part of his work, and the colleague he was with at the time was also identified.

Following the allegations, Garda headquarters appointed a senior officer to carry out a scoping exercise to determine “whether any issues of criminality or discipline arise”.

The scoping exercise has since been upgraded to a formal criminal investigation and led to the suspension of a serving garda last month

This week the Garda said in a statement that a “further three members of An Garda Síochána have been suspended from duty as part of an investigation into certain matters in north Dublin City Centre.

“As this is an ongoing investigation, An Garda Síochána has no further comment.”

The Anti-Corruption Unit was launched earlier this year and is comprised of 26 gardaí and is led by a chief superintendent and two detective superintendents.

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