Provincial Police Complaint Commissioner gets limited power to investigate RCMP

Deal only applies to serious cases

Stan Lowe

For the first time, the provincial agency that investigates complaints against municipal police departments in B.C. will have the power to probe alleged misconduct by members of the RCMP as well.

The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) announced Thursday (Nov. 10) that it has reached an agreement with the federal police force to provide independent assessments of the evidence in cases concerning Mounties involving “death, serious harm, or a matter which raises significant concerns regarding the administration of justice.”

Under the terms of the three-page memorandum of agreement signed by Police Complaint Commissioner Stan Lowe and the officer in charge of the RCMP in BC, Asst. Commissioner Craig Callen, the OPCC will only get involved after an outside police agency has reviewed the evidence against the Mounties and had decided against making a report to Crown prosecutors.

And the RCMP and outside police agency must both request the OPCC.

Once that happens, the complaint commissioner will have the power to order a further investigation.

While Lowe still doesn’t have the right to investigate less serious allegations against RCMP the way he can investigate municipal police, the announcement still represents a significant shift by the RCMP, which has been immune to provincial review until now even though it provides street-level policing to most B.C. communities.

The announcement of the deal comes one week after the OPCC and RCMP announced a one-time deal that would allow the commissioner to review the conduct of the Langley RCMP involved in the Aug. 6, 2010 shooting of 22-year-old Alvin Wright in Langley, who died the next day.

A Vancouver Police review found no basis for criminal charges against the Mounties involved.

At the time, Lowe said the agreement was limited to the Wright case.

Under the terms of the new deal, the OPCC will consider whether the available evidence discloses “a reasonable basis to consider that the conduct of an officer or former officer may constitute an offence under any Federal or Provincial legislation?”

If it does, the OPCC will submit an investigation report  to the Criminal Justice Branch for charge assessment by Crown prosecutors.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has complained about the lack of RCMP accountability to the OPCC in a statement about the Wright case.

The same criticism has been leveled by the lawyer representing Wright’s widow.

Just Posted

Vehicle catches fire near China Creek Marina

No injuries in blaze, according to witnesses

North Island College issues brief statement on bomb threat

Threat forced college to close all campuses for one day

Premier wades into fishery closure debate

John Horgan questions the federal government’s approach

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

Horse riders resurrect public riding ring near Port Alberni

Open house planned for July 22 so public can check out Beaver Creek facility

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

VIDEO: Firefighters put out brush fire in Nanaimo

Fire broke out in the area of a new development under construction in East Wellington

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Activists protest outside Kinder Morgan terminal in kayaks, canoes

Tsleil-Waututh elder Ta’ah Amy George led the water ceremony from a traditional Coast Salish canoe

Most Read