Criminal Allegations Against Police: New Process for Handling Complaints by Members of the First Nations and Inuits

Criminal Allegations Against Police: New Process for Handling Complaints by Members of the First Nations and Inuits

by pmnationtalk on August 10, 201824 Views

QUÉBEC, le 9 août 2018 – The Ministère de la Sécurité publique (MSP) wishes to inform the public of new measures that will be put in place to deal with criminal allegations against police officers where the alleged victim, or complainant, is a member of a First Nation or the Inuit nation. These actions are the result of extensive reflection, as well as consultations with various Indigenous organizations. The MSP committed to a transition guided by principles of integrity, impartiality and transparency that would ensure Indigenous cooperation in the process.

Thus, effective September 17, the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI) will be responsible for investigating any criminal allegations made by an Indigenous person against a police officer in Québec. It should be remembered that since the ‘Val-d’Or” events, the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) was responsible for conducting such investigations, with the exception of investigations into allegations of a sexual nature committed by a police officer in the performance of his duties, which were already under the responsibility of the BEI since fall 2016.

To address the concerns expressed by the communities concerned and their representatives, additional measures will also be implemented:

  • creation of a special investigation unit within the BEI to investigate any criminal allegations made by an Indigenous person against a police officer in Québec;
  • the loan to the BEI of an SPVM police officer who participated in investigations of the “Val-d’Or” events, so that the BEI can benefit from the expertise thus developed;
  • the transfer of line 1-844-615-3118 from the SPVM to the BEI to submit information or complaints;
  • full-time hiring by the BEI of an Indigenous Liaison and Support Officer, who is responsible for following up with complainants and victims, assisting them in the process and referring them to the appropriate resources when required. This officer will also be able to advise and ensure liaison with the BEI authorities on the needs of First Nations and Inuits;
  • training of BEI staff on First Nations and Inuit realities and cultures, including their expectations, in collaboration with community partners.

The BEI will endeavour to recruit, as soon as possible, one or more First Nations and Inuit Investigator(s) for greater representation within their organization.

The implementation of the new process, which has been endorsed by the various representatives of the communities and organizations consulted, will be monitored in collaboration with them.

The coming into force of this new process will close Phase 2 of the investigations conducted by the SPVM, namely those involving complaints received after April 5, 2016, which will be reviewed by the independent observer, Me Fannie Lafontaine, once all investigations have been completed and decided by the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DCPP). The report will be made public later.

Highlights

  • It should be noted that on October 23, 2015, following a report of allegations by Indigenous women regarding the conduct of police officers, the then Minister of Public Security announced the transfer of the investigations to the SPVM, at the request of the Director General of the Sûreté du Québec.
  • On November 5, 2015, additional measures were announced, including the appointment of an Independent Observer, whose mandate was to assess the integrity and impartiality of investigations conducted by the SPVM.
  • On April 5, 2016, as a result of new public allegations, the Minister of Public Security announced additional measures, including a formal expansion of the SPVM’s mandate across Québec and assistance offered to complainants and victims by the Services parajudiciaires autochtones du Québec / Native Para-Judicial Services of Québec.
  • On June 27, 2016, the BEI began operations. Its primary purpose is to investigate, at the request of the Minister of Public Security, any case where a person, other than a police officer on duty, dies, sustains a serious injury or is injured by a firearm used by a police officer, during a police intervention or while detained by a police service.
  • On November 16, 2016, the Minister released the first Independent Observer’s report for Phase 1 of the investigations covering the period from October 22, 2015 to April 4, 2016. On November 18, 2016, the DCPP also provided his assessment.
  • The new process, which will take effect on September 17, 2018, will put an end to the mandate of the SPVM, as well as the mandate of the Independent Observer, who will later table her report on Phase 2 of the investigations.

Up to September 17, 2018, individuals wishing to file a complaint may continue to do so with the SPVM at 1-844-615-3118. The selected model was discussed with a working committee that included representatives from the Centre d’amitié autochtone de Val-d’Or, the Conseil de la Nation Anishnabe de Lac Simon, the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council, the Cree Women of Eeyou Istchee Association, Femmes autochtones du Québec / Quebec Native Women, the Cree Nation Government, the Regroupement des centres d’amitié autochtones du Québec, and the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador, which adopted a resolution in this regard.

Related link :

Regulation respecting the selection procedure and the training of investigators of the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes :

https://www.bei.gouv.qc.ca/lois-et-reglements.html

For further information: Media relations, Direction des communications, Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Occupation du territoire and ministère de la Sécurité publique, 418-646-6777, ext. 30274

NT5

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