News that Premier Christy Clark is introducing an independent, civil led office to conduct criminal investigations resulting in death or serious harm and including police in the province is being welcomed by Skeena – Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen.
However Cullen, who introduced the Civilian Oversight Act bill in November 2009 to create a civilian investigation service and put an end to the practice of police investigating police, says more needs to be done to restore trust in the RCMP.
“I’m cautiously optimistic the Independent Investigations Office will help bring back a level of public trust in BC policing. But the devil is in the details and I’ll be watching closely to see how the job gets done,” he said.
“Tragedies such as Ian Bush and Robert Dziekanski can provide critical information to help make policing better, more accountable and transparent, but we can’t learn these important lessons when police investigate themselves.”
Clark, who called the new legislation “an historic step for policing in BC”, noted that both the Braidwood Commission and the police support an independent agency performing investigations related to officers, and Cullen says it is now time for the Federal Government to recognize that as well.
“The federal government has a duty to both the public and our national police force. I expect the Conservatives to live up to their responsibility and introduce much-needed oversight legislation when Parliament returns next month…I will continue to push for a national response outlined in my bill 18 months ago,” Cullen said.
“Canadians should be able to count on independent investigations right across the country. RCMP leadership and frontline officers have recognized that independent investigations are needed to restore public faith in the force and have joined the call for reform.”
The Province is currently assessing the office’s location, budget and staffing requirements, and expects the office to be operational by the end of 2011.