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HomeNewsProvince proposes increased oversight of police

Province proposes increased oversight of police

ONTARIO-The province is proposing another level of oversight for police services in Ontario.

A new Inspector General of Police would have a mandate to oversee and monitor police services and police service boards according to an announcement made today by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services along with the Attorney General. All board members would be required to complete training, including diversity training. Reporting requirements for boards would also be strengthened. The province is also updating the police disciplinary process, including setting new rules for suspension without pay for police officers accused of serious criminal wrongdoing. Although they didnt provide any details on what this would entail.

It’s part of new proposed legislation that would be part of a new act called the Safer Ontario Act 2017. The bill is a new legislative package that would represent the largest policing and public safety transformation in a generation according to the Province. “Today, we are announcing the most significant changes to the police oversight system since it was first created. By expanding and clarifying the three agencies’ mandates, introducing new timelines and penalties, and increasing public reporting we are building a more accountable and transparent policing oversight system. The changes we are proposing will help ensure there is trust and respect between the police and the communities they serve.” said Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General.

The proposed measures would modernize our approach to community safety, and improve police oversight and accountability. They respond to the needs and realities of Ontario’s diverse communities and would mandate local community safety and well-being planning. The goal is to build a province where all residents feel protected and safe in their homes and communities. “Community safety starts in the community with a proactive approach that focuses on well-being. The changes we are proposing represent the largest transformation to Ontario’s policing and community safety in over 25 years, and will result in even stronger, safer communities.” Marie-France Lalonde, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services commented.

Under the new legislation municipalities would have a larger role in defining and addressing local needs. By focusing on local needs, vulnerable populations can receive the help they need, when and where they need it most – by the providers best suited to help them. Municipalities will be mandated to work with police services and local service providers in health care, social services and education to develop community safety and well-being plans that proactively address community safety concerns.

It would strengthen oversight by:

  • Expanding and clarifying the mandates of the three oversight bodies
  • Establishing strong penalties for officers who do not comply with investigations
  • Setting strict timelines for investigations and public reporting
  • Releasing more information about the results of investigations and disciplinary hearings by oversight agencies.

For the first time, duties that can only be performed by a sworn police officer will be defined in regulation. The new act would ensure police education, training, and standards are consistent across the province, and would create a Public Safety Institute as a centre of excellence to inform the delivery of police services, support evidence-based decision making, and conduct leading edge research.

First Nations communities would be able to choose their policing service delivery mode, including the option to come under the same legislative framework as the rest of Ontario. This would ensure First Nations receive culturally responsive, sustainable, accountable, and equitable policing that has the flexibility to address specific community needs on their own terms.

The province is also committing to creating a new Missing Persons Act to give police new tools when responding to missing persons occurrences where there is no evidence of criminal activity.  These changes would allow police to respond more quickly and effectively to missing persons investigations.

Inquests would be mandatory when a police officer, special constable or other officer’s use of force is the direct cause of a death.

New forensic lab accreditation is also being proposed by creating a provincial accreditation framework so that forensic laboratories across the province have common operational standards through a new Forensic Laboratories Act. Accreditation would ensure a system of quality management for forensic laboratories that includes proficiency testing, annual audits, performance reports, surveillance visits, management reviews and a code of conduct.

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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