A number of Dublin-based gardaí have been arrested by anti-corruption officers investigating the alleged extortion of food delivery workers.
It follows an investigation, which began in 2021, centring on allegations that Deliveroo and other food delivery riders were being stopped and “taxed” by a group of gardaí as they went about their work.
Riders were allegedly forced to hand over sums of money, typically around €50 or less, in order to be allowed to continue working. Some of the alleged victims paid the money over fears they could be prosecuted for road traffic or immigration offences.
Four gardaí have been suspended over the course of the investigation and a number of those have now been arrested for interview, Garda headquarters confirmed. The development was first reported by the Irish Daily Star.
All those arrested have since been released and the investigation is continuing. It is understood the ringleader of the alleged extortion, a sergeant, has not yet been arrested. The investigation is being carried out by the Garda Anti-Corruption Unit.
“This investigation remains ongoing. A number of members of An Garda Síochána have been arrested and detained for questioning as part of this investigation, to date. An Garda Síochána does not comment in detail on ongoing investigations,” the Garda said.
One of those arrested is suspected of breaking into the home of a food delivery worker as part of the alleged extortion. Another is suspected of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Several searches have been carried out as part of the investigation, including at a Garda station and of garda lockers.
The investigations started when a female Deliveroo rider claimed she was stopped by two men who presented as gardaí before they carried out a search at her home.
After the search, the woman claimed a number of items, including money, were missing. She suspected the two men were not gardaí and contacted her local station to make a complaint alleging theft. Photo-fits of the men were circulated, leading to one suspect coming forward and saying he believed he was engaged in a legitimate search of the home.
Following the allegations, Garda headquarters appointed a senior officer to carry out a scoping exercise which was then upgraded to a formal criminal investigation.