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

Iconic rock photographer Bob Gruen to exhibit work in Kelowna

Gruen’s portfolio includes John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, among many others.

Kelowna car thief’s sentencing delayed

Stanley Nickason pleaded guilty car theft charges in B.C. Supreme Court

Alleged impaired driver flips car near Lake Country

The incident happened early Friday morning

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry supply

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

Okanagan resident’s alleged stolen dog found safe

Nicholas Bozak thanks the public for finding his 17 month old mastiff chow

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Survivorship Dragon Boat Team wins in Vernon

Team takes top spot in A division at festival

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

RDOS contributes funds to arts centre workshop

South Okanagan Performing Arts Centre Society wants input into proposed facility

World-famous sopranos to hold concert in Okanagan

Two Canadian sopranos are bringing their world-famous voices to the Okanagan for one night only

Summerland Fall Fair to include zucchini race

Event is in honour of bobsleigh athlete Justin Kripps

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Most Read