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

Sledder dies near Fernie

Fernie Search and Rescue was tasked by the RCMP to respond to a sledder in medical distress

GALLERY: Elkford goes wild for winter

Big turnout to annual Winter in the Wild festival in Elkford

Fernie Mountain Film Festival this weekend

The Radicals, This Mountain Life to headline Fernie Mountain Film Festival Feb. 22-24

City of Fernie poised to approve $19.3m loan for multi-purpose centre

The City must prove it can pay its portion of the $72.5 million centre if successful for a grant

Elk Valley mines boost overall Teck production

Fording River, Elkview achieve record fourth quarter; Fording, Greenhills have bumper year

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Kootenay man dies in crash near Sparwood

Accident occurred last night east of Sparwood, RCMP appealing for witnesses

POLL: Are Wildlife Detection Systems in the Elk Valley working?

In 2016, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) installed two wildlife… Continue reading

Sparwood zoning bylaw review underway

This is the first comprehensive review of the bylaw since it was adopted in 1981

Pope’s sex abuse prevention summit explained

It’s A high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops the global problem

B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Most Read