Vancouver, B.C. – In a surprising about face yesterday, B.C.’s municipal police chiefs along with representatives from the RCMP joined in a press conference to declare that the current system for investigating criminal allegations against police officers, and in custody deaths, is broken and needs provincial intervention to restore public confidence in the police.
“We are pleased to see that the police chiefs now agree with us that something must be done to reform our police accountability system and take it out of the hands of police,” says Jason Gratl, Vice-President of the BCCLA. “Now we need to decide how to reform the system. Do we move to police investigating themselves with civilians watching from the sidelines, or do we introduce a civilian investigator model like Ontario and Manitoba?”
Under the current system, in custody deaths and criminal investigations of police officers are conducted by police, under the supervision of police, often, but not always, from the same force. The Chief’s proposal would maintain that system of police investigating themselves, but would introduce a new civilian body that would oversee the investigations.
“The system of police investigating themselves, both with and without civilian oversight, has been discredited in B.C. in many different audits and investigations,” said Gratl. “We need a system that is completely independent from police. We hope the Solicitor General, when examining the chiefs’ proposal, also takes note of the very clear, unambiguous recommendations of the Frank Paul Inquiry that we end the system of police investigating themselves.”
Jason Gratl, Vice-President, (604) 317-1919
David Eby, Executive Director, (778) 865-7997