Increasing RCMP Accountability through a new Civilian Review and Complaints Commission
The proposed Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act will create a new Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) for the RCMP to replace the existing Commission for Public Complaints (CPC) against the RCMP. It will increase the transparency of investigations into serious incidents involving a member of the RCMP, reduce the potential for bias and promote public accountability of these criminal investigations.
The CPC was established as an independent body to hold the RCMP accountable to the public by enabling public complaints about the on-duty conduct of RCMP members to be examined fairly and impartially. It is mandated to receive complaints from the public about the conduct of RCMP members; conduct reviews when complainants are not satisfied with the RCMP's handling of their complaints; hold hearings or carry out investigations on complaints; and, report findings and make recommendations to the Commissioner of the RCMP and the Minister of Public Safety, with a view to correct and prevent recurring policing problems.
The CRCC will have the same powers of the former commission along with new powers and authorities to carry out its mandate, including:
- Broad access to RCMP information to help it perform its duties (it will be required to safeguard against unauthorized disclosure of privileged information);
- Enhanced investigative powers, including the authority to summon and compel witnesses to give evidence;
- The ability to conduct joint investigations and share information with other police review bodies;
- The ability to conduct policy reviews to determine the RCMP's compliance with legislation and regulations, as well as policies, procedures, guidelines and Ministerial Directives;
- The authority to appoint civilian observers to assess the impartiality of criminal investigations of serious incidents involving the RCMP or, with approval of the relevant provincial authority, when the investigation is being done by the RCMP or another police service.
The Commission will consist of one chairperson and up to four additional full- or part-time members. Members will be appointed by the Governor in Council for up to five years with the possibility for reappointment and extension. Members or former members of the RCMP will not be eligible to be appointed as members of the Commission.
The enhanced powers and authorities of the CRCC will increase the RCMPs accountability to Canadians and will be similar to those of other modern international, federal and provincial review bodies.
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