Dec. 12, 2011 Backgrounder 1:

The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner:
B.C.’s little-known police oversight agency


My own experience, contacts with people who’ve related roughly similar experiences and the VPD/OPCC cover-up of Const. Taylor Robinson’s assault on a handicapped woman suggest to me that the OPCC routinely conducts dishonest reviews and cover-ups. The only exceptions are cases that get media coverage or the support of an influential group like the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

The OPCC answers to no one — not the provincial Ombudsperson nor anyone else.

Most of the OPCC’s work is shrouded in secrecy. Complainants receive very little information about the police self-investigation and the OPCC review.

The OPCC has stated that complainants have the right to appeal OPCC decisions. I believe that’s a false statement. There is no actual appeal or review of an OPCC decision.

All the senior OPCC positions are held by former B.C. cops or people with backgrounds very close to the cops. That includes, for example, Tom Collins, who Lowe falsely claims comes from a civilian background.

The OPCC now claims that most of its staff come from civilian backgrounds. I doubt the honesty of that statement. Even if it’s true, I doubt the “civilians” have much influence on OPCC decisions. I’ve been informed that they’re all “very young and very green.” They’re being trained, mentored and supervised by a crew of ex-cops.

The OPCC boss, Stan Lowe, should have been ruled out as a candidate for police complaint commissioner due to his Dziekanski decision.

The OPCC’s handling of VPD Const. Taylor Robinson’s assault calls for strong media scrutiny, preferably pressuring the government for an independent inquiry.

Backgrounders to December 12, 2011 media release:

1. The OPCC: B.C.’s little-known police oversight agency

2. B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office: Not what it’s made out to be

3. B.C. media and police accountability: Little coverage and often inaccurate

4. The Don Morrison controversy: The one time that the OPCC did receive scrutiny

5. The BCCLA: Part of the problem with our system of police accountability

6. The NDP: Supporting the BC Liberals’ efforts to thwart police accountability

7. About me

Go to the Dec. 12, 2011 news release
Go to the News and Comment page