Civilian-led criminal investigation office created to police B.C. police officers
A new, independent, civilian-led office will conduct criminal investigations into incidents that involve B.C. police officers and result in death or serious harm.
Bill 12 will create an Independent Investigations Office, which will fulfill a central recommendation of the Braidwood Commission and strengthen public confidence in police.
The office will be the lead investigative agency in cases under its mandate, interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence. Specifically, it will:
- Be led by a civilian who has never served as a police officer.
- Conduct criminal investigations into police-related incidents involving death or serious harm, and will be able to do investigations involving other serious incidents.
- Be able to investigate members of all B.C. police agencies, including independent municipal departments and the RCMP.
- Have its powers entrenched in legislation.
- Report to the Ministry of Attorney General.
B.C.’s office will investigate a broad range of serious police-involved incidents and be more independent than those in other provinces such as Alberta and Ontario, reporting to the Attorney General rather than the minister responsible for policing.
In addition, the legislation will allow the office’s civilian director to appoint a civilian monitor with access to all information on an investigation.
The monitor will be free to raise concerns to the director about the integrity of an investigation and submit a final report within 30 days.
The Province is currently assessing the office’s location, budget and staffing requirements, and expects the office to be operational by the end of 2011.