Blind oversight

A letter in the Vancouver Province, Aug. 29, 2009

In response to the complaint by the Vancouver concierge who claims police assaulted him to grab condo keys, police spokes[man] Const. Lindsey Houghton claims police take complaints seriously.

But experience suggests otherwise, except in cases that get advance publicity or support from an influential group.

The same goes for B.C.’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner. The proposed changes to the Police Act won’t make much difference because civilians will be limited to mere “oversight” of police internal investigations.

The oversight comes from ex-cops like deputy police complaint commissioner Bruce Brown. His boss is police complaint commissioner Stan Lowe.

In his previous job with the Criminal Justice Branch, Lowe took part in the decision to shield four Mounties from responsibility for Robert Dziekanski’s death, stating the Taser blasts and other brutal treatment were “reasonable and necessary.” Police complaints need investigation, not oversight, by civilians free of cop loyalties. But you won’t see these reforms in the revised Police Act proposed for the fall legislature.

Greg Klein, Vancouver

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