Saturday, January 31, 2009

Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP releases first major study of complaint review process

This week the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP issued its first ever report on the RCMP public complaints process entitled Review of the RCMP's Public Complaint Records 2007. In 2007, 3,104 complaints were made against the RCMP with neglect of duty, improper attitude and improper use of force being the most common issues raised. Unfortunately, there is no specific category for racial profiling and so it is unclear how many complaints involved racial discrimination.

The Commission headed by Paul Kennedy, Chair, raised a number of concerns including an under-reporting of complaints in rural and remote areas and lack of awareness of the rights of complainants. In an effort to improve public trust, transparency and accountability, the Commission issued the following recommendations:


"Recognizing the importance of Force-wide consistency and based on the findings of the analyses within the Review of the Record Project, the Commission recommends the following:

1. That the Professional Standards and External Review Directorate at RCMP Headquarters organize a Force-wide meeting of divisional Professional Standards Units and the Commission in order to discuss best practices and ways of improving efficiency and effectiveness in the public complaint process.

2. That the Professional Standards and External Review Directorate at RCMP Headquarters send out a directive clearly articulating:
a. when it is appropriate to informally resolve improper use of force complaints and when it is not;
b. how public complaints defined under Part VII of the RCMP Act are to be processed when the complainant raises statutory offence allegations; and
c. when it is appropriate to terminate a public complaint under the RCMP Act and what information must be included in a Notice of Direction.

3. That the RCMP implement a more efficient means of tracking public complaints and that Divisions and detachments provide the Commission with a copy of all of the outstanding complaint dispositions.

4. That the RCMP ensure that those tasked with capturing public complaints and writing complaint dispositions be appropriately trained and that manuals related to the public complaint process be immediately updated to ensure a standardized national approach.

5. That the RCMP commit to improving its service standards by implementing ways to reduce wait times and increase processing times for complaint dispositions.

6. That the RCMP ensure that all of the complaint dispositions be provided to the Commission concurrent to being provided to the member and the complainant."

Posted by Professor Tanovich

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