Service Standards Investigative Guides (Details)

Name of province/ territory:

British Columbia

City/ Region:

British Columbia

Description of Initiative:

The Service Standards Investigative Guides are similar to a checklist. They were developed to ensure compliance with approved investigative standards and provide practical advice at all stages of an investigation. Each criminal investigation is unique and many variables must be taken into consideration when developing investigational strategies. These guides will supplement the investigators' knowledge, skills and abilities. They are not designed to replace an investigator’s experience, discretion and common sense. They are also not designed to replace the supervisor’s review and direction on any given investigation.

Initiative Key Objectives:

These guides will:

  • ensure consistency in police response, service delivery and the application of investigative standards;
  • provide police officers with a succinct guide regarding investigative expectations and best avenues of approach to a variety of investigations; and
  • provide guidance to supervisors regarding: expectations of their police officers for investigative excellence; police officers' use and understanding of relevant policies and procedures as they apply to investigations of all offences; and police officers' consideration of appropriate tasks for all calls for service.

Section Responsible for Implementation:

'E' Division Criminal Operations Branch

Key Contact:

Jim Gresham

Groups/ Agencies/ Key Partners Involved:

Level of Involvement (consultative - information sharing) and/or cooperative - direct involvement):


Amount of Time Initiative has been in Place:

This initiative has been in place since 2006.

Reason for Undertaking the Initiative:

The British Columbia (BC) Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) established a Detachment Investigative Standards working group. This group recommended the creation of a small guide in the form of a slide chart to assist in the criminal investigation of offences that occur in all communities policed by the RCMP. The focus of this initiative was on improving the effectiveness of investigators and the RCMP in providing and enhancing community safety. These guides support efficient and effective policing services by enhancing oversight of investigations by supervisors. Supervisors use the guide when reviewing investigations to maximize investigative processes and compliance with service standards reflected in the guides.

Resources Required to Implement this Initiative:

100 hours and a cost of $3-8 per chart (depending on volume).

Method of Implementation:

The slide charts were handed out to all members as a personal issue item. Those actions in the guide denoted by a red "X" outline the mandatory minimum service standards required in the investigation and reporting of the offence. Those items in the guide denoted by a blue "X" are recommended investigative steps. Although these steps are not mandatory, officers are required to give reasons if the steps are not taken. These reasons must be documented in investigative reports.

Key Outcomes of the Initiative:

The quality and consistency of investigations have been enhanced, ensuring a much more effective policing service throughout BC. The enhanced quality of investigations is supported through greater oversight by supervisors and reviewers who rely on appropriate standards set out in the guides to make investigative decisions.

Availability of a Communication Strategy:


Key Messages used to Publicize the Initiative:

Prior to the creation of the Service Standards Investigative Guides, one of the biggest challenges faced by RCMP officers was maintaining minimum investigative standards for all criminal investigations. These guides enhance investigative standards.

Through the development of these guides, the RCMP recognizes that investigating criminal activity has become much more complicated. These guides are designed to assist even the most experienced investigators in ensuring all avenues of investigation and reporting are covered.

These guides are an excellent tool to enhance a new police officer’s understanding of the basic expectations and mandatory minimum service standards required by the RCMP in BC.

Ultimately, the enhanced quality of investigations will have a significant impact on community safety.

Forms of Evaluation by which the Initiative will be Assessed:

  • internal
  • external
  • qualitative

Evaluation Completed or Community Feedback Received:


Summary of the Outcomes:

There is an ongoing evaluation of the use of the guides through the Institute for Canadian Research Studies (ICURS) at Simon Fraser University. The initial findings of this evaluation are that police officers are using the guides for their investigations, and, as they become more experienced, are relying on the standards they have applied from the guides, rather than continually referring to the slides.

Summary of the Performance Measure Data Collected:


Economics of Policing Pillars:

Further Details:


Additional Comments or Suggestions:

This RCMP initiative focused on ensuring that the appropriate investigative standards are applied throughout the province of BC.

The enhanced quality of investigations ensures efficient policing services because resources are applied appropriately and effectively to maximize police workload and capacity. Effective investigations in the first instance also ensure public confidence and reduce the financial liability incurred when investigations do not meet the approved standards.

Record Entry Date:


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