B.C. model for civilian oversight
of police falls short

A letter in the Vancouver Sun, Oct. 12, 2011


Re: Coroner confirms inquest not needed, Oct. 6

Apart from examining the circumstances of Robert Dziekanski’s death, the Thomas Braidwood inquiry made recommendations for civilian investigation of police. Unfortunately, the drastic revisions imposed by the B.C. Liberals leave our province far behind Ontario in that regard.

B.C.’s new Independent Investigations Office will not answer to the Ombudsperson, removing any hope of transparency.

The IIO’s transparency will be limited to a “monitor” who can review its investigations. But the monitor will be appointed by the IIO director.

The IIO won’t be able to lay criminal charges against police, as Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit does.

The IIO will simply present evidence to Crown lawyers, who have been notoriously reluctant to charge police.

The IIO will answer to the attorney general, leaving it open to political interference.

The IIO will come under the authority of B.C.’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner, itself a product of police culture.

Police will continue to investigate police accused of “less serious” offences, with a review conducted by the OPCC.

The B.C. Liberals point out that Braidwood supports their plan. But between writing his report and voicing his support, Braidwood changed his position radically.

Greg Klein

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