NEWS RELEASE · 31st March 2010
Ministry of Public Safety
Laws that make it easier for the public to file complaints against municipal police, investigators to process them thoroughly and the Province's independent police complaint commissioner to oversee the entire process, come into effect today.
The Police Amendment Act, passed last fall, makes it easier to file complaints, which is particularly important to people with disabilities and those reluctant to sign a written complaint. Complainants will also have the right to make a follow-up submission after receiving a final report on an investigation, to comment on its adequacy from their perspective, as well as the appropriateness of any discipline.
The commissioner now has enhanced oversight of the entire police complaint process from beginning to end. Notably, the commissioner will now assess whether a complaint is admissible upon receiving it, and may order an investigation to continue even if a complaint is withdrawn.
Police officers under investigation will have to provide statements and submit to interviews by investigating officers within five days of a request. Those who refuse risk being charged under the act or found guilty of further misconduct, such as neglect of duty.
One of the disciplines that may be imposed, suspension without pay, will be increased to a maximum of 30 days - up from the previous five days. The new act also eliminates officers' ability to avoid the complaint process by retiring or resigning.
Under the amended act, the Province will complete a mandatory audit before the end of 2012 to assess how well the new complaint process is working.
While the amended act deals with municipal police, a consistent, federal complaint process is a key point of discussion in ongoing negotiations toward renewing the Province's contract with the RCMP in 2012.