Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Richard Rosenthal, B.C.’s chief civilian director for police oversight.

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

After a "healthy debate," British Columbia's police forces, including the RCMP, have signed off on rules for working with the new civilian-led office that will conduct criminal investigations of police in cases that result in death or serious harm.

Richard Rosenthal, chief civilian director of the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of British Columbia that will be operational on Sept. 10, said the 23-page agreement was essential so the office and police have the same set of expectations.

"We can't have one set of rules for the RCMP and another set of rules for the [Vancouver Police Department]," he said in an interview Monday. "There was a healthy debate and discussion. In the end, we agreed on what we needed to agree on."

Story continues below advertisement

That includes police protocols for contacting the IIO in response to incidents, securing notes from officers under investigation, interviewing officers and managing media relations. In addition to front-line police, input came from police unions and boards and civil liberty associations, among others.

To some extent, Mr. Rosenthal said the office will have to rely on police for such matters as maintaining the integrity of scenes while one of the 34 investigators for the Surrey-based IIO travel to incident locations.

"Particularly if we're responding to the north or the RCMP's southeast division, it's going to take us some time to get there," said the former Los Angeles County deputy district attorney.

"The departments are required to maintain the integrity of the scene for us, and if it would degrade, they need to process the scene as appropriate."

Police departments have been supportive of the IIO – a concept recommended by the Braidwood inquiry into the 2007 death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski during a confrontation with Mounties.

"We've signed the [memorandum of understanding] and we're 100 per cent in support of it. We're happy to see its coming," said Constable Lindsey Houghton, a spokesperson for the Vancouver Police Department.

RCMP Chief Superintendent Wayne Rideout, of the E Division covering B.C., said the agreement had harmonized relations among a number of police organizations. "We're good to go," he said.

Story continues below advertisement

The organization's investigators are a 50-50 mix of former police officers – five years out of the field – and civilians with investigative experience from work with such agencies as the coroners' service and even the Insurance Corporation of B.C., Mr. Rosenthal said.

Both groups are being trained as necessary at the Justice Institute of B.C. and the Canadian Police College. "The training is obviously different for each [group]," he said.

Mr. Rosenthal said he is optimistic about positive working relationships ahead, though the office will scrutinize police. "In my career, I certainly have seen tensions between oversight and police," he said. "I just don't want to predict that will happen. What I have seen thus far is police services that want this program to start, they want it to succeed because it's in their best interests to have an independent agency conducting investigations."

"The reality is that when I have to make decisions as to whether or not I believe an officer committed a criminal act or not, I'll get the level of respect and, at the same time, scrutiny that any one of them would if they were making that decision."

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies