NEWS RELEASE · 19th May 2011
MP Nathan Cullen
National police force needs national standard for independent investigations
A new civilian investigative body to oversee RCMP and municipal police conduct in BC is welcome news, says Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen, but more must be done to restore public trust in the national force.
“I’m cautiously optimistic the Independent Investigations Office will help bring back a level of public trust in BC policing,” Cullen said. “But the devil is in the details and I’ll be watching closely to see how the job gets done.”
Cullen noted that federal and provincial New Democrats have been leading the charge on civilian oversight of policing, currently a cumbersome “patchwork quilt” across Canada that also has variations in Ontario and Manitoba.
He says the national force should have a national standard for fully independent and impartial investigations of serious incidents involving the RCMP.
“The strength of the public consensus we’ve helped build has borne fruit today for BC, but Canadians should be able to count on independent investigations right across the country,” Cullen said.
“RCMP leadership and frontline officers have recognized that independent investigations are needed to restore public faith in the force and have joined the call for reform.
“I will continue to push for a national response outlined in my bill 18 months ago.”
Cullen introduced the Civilian Oversight Act (Bill C-472) in November 2009 to create a civilian investigation service and put an end to the practice of police investigating police. Ottawa continues to fail to respond to the policy gap.
“The federal government has a duty to both the public and our national police force. I expect the Conservatives to live up to their responsibility and introduce much-needed oversight legislation when Parliament returns next month,” Cullen said.
“Tragedies such as Ian Bush and Robert Dziekanski can provide critical information to help make policing better, more accountable and transparent, but we can’t learn these important lessons when police investigate themselves.”