Dec. 12, 2011 Backgrounder 5:

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


The way the B.C. Civil Liberties Association handled Const. Taylor Robinson’s assault shows the two sides of this group. On the one hand it performed valuable work in bringing the incident to light. On the other hand, the BCCLA was negligent in not addressing the VPD/OPCC cover-up.

That’s the good and bad of the BCCLA. It does an excellent job of pointing out instances of police misconduct. But the group will not criticize B.C.’s system of police oversight or the people who run it. The BCCLA co-operates with the OPCC, granting Stan Lowe and his ex-cops unwarranted legitimacy. The OPCC does pay special attention to cases supported by the BCCLA. But cases that aren’t caught on video or don’t have the support of an influential group get entirely different treatment.

Apart from saying that police shouldn’t investigate each other, the BCCLA does not offer specific suggestions on achieving police accountability.

The BCCLA has not pointed out any of the shortcomings of the legislation that establishes the Independent Investigations Office. Instead, the BCCLA has issued public statements celebrating the “end of police self investigation.” Those false statements reflect on the BCCLA’s credibility.

Furthermore the BCCLA has done nothing, as far as I know, to correct the B.C. media’s chronically inaccurate reporting on police accountability. This leads to public confusion that benefits the police status quo.

Nevertheless B.C.’s mainstream media have granted the BCCLA a near-monopoly on critical comment on this issue.

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