Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Office of the Independent Police Review Director (Ontario) open for receiving police complaints

OIPRD Press Release

New Public Oversight Body Opens
First public complaint about the police can be filed October 19, 2009

NEWS
October 19, 2009
The Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) officially opened its doors to the public today, bringing in new, stronger civilian oversight in Ontario.

The OIPRD was created in response to a report by the Honourable Patrick LeSage, recommending a new independent body to administer public complaints about the police in Ontario.

The OIPRD is an independent agency of the Ministry of the Attorney General responsible for receiving and dealing with all public complaints about the police in Ontario. The OIPRD’s goal is to provide independent, accessible and effective oversight of complaints that will build confidence and trust in the public complaints process.

QUOTES
“My team and I have worked hard over the past year to reach this point. In cooperation with the community and the police, we’ve developed the framework for a transparent and accountable system that will help enhance the positive relationship between the police and the community.”
—Gerry McNeilly, Independent Police Review Director

“I’m pleased that Ontario now has a complaints system that has the confidence and respect of both the public and the police. Civilian oversight contributes to public safety and is consistent with our government’s commitment to stronger, safer and more prosperous communities.”
—Chris Bentley, Attorney General

QUICK FACTS

The OIPRD can accept a complaint about any incident that occurred on October 19, 2009 or after.

Public complaints can be about any provincial, regional or municipal police officer in Ontario.

A complaint may be about the policies or services of a police department, or about the conduct of a specific officer.

LEARN MORE
Visit the OIPRD website to learn more about the public complaints system.
Read the Independent Police Review Act.
Allison Hawkins, Communications Branch 416-314-4517
www.oiprd.on.ca

2 comments:

  1. The long awaited launch of the OIPRD...very exciting news!
    I hope that citizens in Ontario will have the confidence and faith to utilize this Office now that there is a more independent and viable means to address complaints and concerns regarding police misconduct.
    Even more encouraging is the discretion afforded to Mr. McNeilly to investigate such allegations based on the nature of the complaints and the public interest. Given his community involvement and work experience with legal clinics, I am confident that he has a sound idea of the fear and mistrust that racialized/low-income communities often feel when interacting with police.
    It will be interesting to see what impact the OIPRD will have on these communities in particular.

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  2. Andrea Anderson, Class of 2009Sunday, November 15, 2009 at 12:53:00 AM EST

    Finally the government has responded to the calls for a legitimate, transparent and accountable police complaints procedure by establishing a review mechanism that is grounded in civilian oversight. While I am also excited by the appointment of Mr. McNeilly, my excitement is somewhat short-lived. It well known that despite the attempts to tinker with the complaints system in the past, the process has been deeply flawed. In turn, individuals and communities have had very little faith in the process. From my personal experience, people are very reluctant to lodge complaints regarding police misconduct because they did not have faith in a process that permits police officers to investigate themselves. When a police officer has ‘mistreated’ an individual, it is unfair and also disingenuous to expect that same individual to seek remedial justice from that same police force. It has always been my view that one of the inherent problems in the process is the lack of independence.
    Since the announcement of the IPRD, critics have maintained that the new system does not go far enough to ensure meaningful access to complaint procedures for individuals alleging police misconduct. One of the issues is how does the legislation offer 'significant' departure from the previous complaints regime? As there are notable difference between the old and the new system, Bill 103 does not seem to create the independent process that I had envisioned. The issue of legitimacy remains because there is a failure to establish an entirely external process.
    As the Office of the IPRD takes form, the new complaint process should ultimately encourage and welcome the engagement of individuals and communities who are currently discouraged from bringing forward their complaints and concerns. Until that fully happens, no one should be surprised if the new complaints system is not utilized.

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