This is a step in the right direction. Provinces need to ensure that each has its own oversight group. I gather that not all have at this stage but I could be wrong. I wonder how many of these investigations have any public hearings so that the public can see what is going on?
RCMP complaints to get independent probes
RCMP Commissioner William Elliott pledges independent investigation of the force's members whenever possible. (Pawel Dwulit/Canadian Press)
The RCMP will bring in independent agencies to investigate, whenever possible, if a member of its own force has been accused of serious offences, the RCMP commissioner said.
"I believe that the RCMP has in the past conducted impartial and thorough investigations of our members. This has been validated time and time again by the commission for public complaints against the RCMP, " William Elliott said on Thursday as he announced the new policy.
"However, I’m convinced that we collectively need to raise the bar in terms of how we respond to situations where life is lost, serious injuries sustained, or sensitive matters of public confidence and trust are raised."
Elliott acknowledged that the policy does not eliminate the possibility that the RCMP could investigate itself or address the broader subject of the police investigating the police.
"But it does incorporate in policy what we have been saying, what I have been saying is the RCMP is in favour of independent investigations," he said. "And wherever possible that is what we will look to."
In cases where the RCMP has been involved in the serious injury or death of an individual, or if an RCMP employee is suspected of contravening the criminal code, the investigation will be referred to a provincially or federally established independent agency, Elliott said.
If that type of agency isn't available, an external law enforcement agency will be requested. In other cases, the RCMP may bring in officers from a different province than the one in which the incident occurred.
In cases where there is no choice but for the RCMP to investigate itself, cases would be assigned to a two-member team who will be screened for any possible conflicts of interest, Elliott said.
The rank of the primary investigator, whenever possible, would be higher than the subject being investigated, he said.
Elliott said the new policy standardizes some practices that are fairly common by making them a mandatory requirement.
"The best solution is to take those investigations out of the hands of the police, as has been done in Ontario, but unless and until governments take the step to do that, we have to do the best we can with the tools available to us."
"We see this as an interim and partial solution. It is not a complete solution and we don't pretend that it is."
Paul Kennedy, former chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, said the initiatives are a "significant good gesture" but that there's more to do.
"It still leaves a variety of responses across the country, some of which will fall short, I think, of what public expectations are."
Kennedy said that many of the provinces don't have a regime in place that the RCMP can look to, meaning they will be looking to another police force to take over the investigations or they will have to do it themselves
Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/02/04/william-elliott-rcmp.html#ixzz0efoncZMh