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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fatality after early morning crash on Highway 1 near Revelstoke

The incident was between a semi truck and passenger vehicle

Roots and Blues festival to kick off virtually on Friday

Watch the festival on Black Press Media website platforms, for free

UPDATE: Highway 1 reopened west of Revelstoke after fatal incident

The highway was closed before 6 a.m. Aug. 13

City purchases new snowblower for $44,000 under budget

Revelstoke replacing 2009 loader attachment with a new one

Revelstoke prepares for first public hearing since pandemic

Controversial Hay Rd. development public hearing scheduled for Sept. 17

Video: SUV burns alongside the highway near Salmon Arm

Footage of the burning vehicle was posted to Youtube.

Police in Summerland hand out treats with tickets

Positive Ticketing Campaign began Aug. 9 at Summerland Skatepark

Green candidate making Okanagan stops

Dimitri Lascaris, federal leadership candidate, coming to Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kelowna

Aldo Shoes’ Kelowna store to close permanently

The branch is among those closing as the company restructures to deal with COVID-19 debt

Large missing python found ssssafe in Victoria after being on the lam for weeks

The snake was located more than six kilometres from where it went missing

What’s COVID-19 doing to friendships?

Life and Faith column by Jim Taylor

B.C. announces multi-year plan to double treatment beds for youth with addiction

This will bring the total number of new beds specific to those 12 to 24 years old to 247 province-wide

Missing toddler wandered for three hours in Beaverdell area before being found

The two-year-old boy was found safe by his uncle on Beaver Creek Road on Aug. 12

Tourism Kelowna’s survey asks if residents are ready for tourists

Tourism Kelowna’s survey asks Central Okanagan residents if they’re comfortable reopening tourism

Most Read