Chapter 5: Accountability and Investigation
5.5 Independent Investigations Office
Ensuring accountability under British Columbia’s Police Act and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act is difficult and can often be correlated to the “mechanics” of investigations into law enforcement misconduct. To ensure these investigations are carried out fairly and with due process, the Police Act designates a police complaint commissioner who has the duty and responsibility to oversee municipal internal investigations.
Operating under Griffiths’ (2013) independent model, the Independent Investigation Office (IIO) investigates cases that involve serious injury or death resulting from the actions of RCMP or municipal police members. The Police Act designates the IIO as a police force in British Columbia and thus its members are subject to provisions under the Act.
The IIO’s team is composed of ex-police officers and civilians. The civilians are trained at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) alongside police recruits. Their training does not include all the curriculum followed by the police recruits, but it does include lessons that cover becoming investigators and understanding how the police may act in certain use-of-force scenarios.
Two issues to consider:
- Is the IIO truly independent when its members are covered under the Police Act?
- Many investigators in the IIO are trained at the JIBC in the Police Academy. Does this inculcation into police culture make them less independent from the police they are investigating?