MAKING A COMPLAINT AGAINST THE HALIFAX POLICE Who what

Document Sample
MAKING A COMPLAINT AGAINST THE HALIFAX POLICE Who what Powered By Docstoc
					     MAKING A COMPLAINT AGAINST THE                            in writing and pass it on the person in charge of                   a.   Dismiss the complaint (close the case);       11. If the investigator decides to dismiss the
             HALIFAX POLICE                                    complaints).                                                             OR                                                application, and you are unhappy with this
                                                                                                                                   b.   Discipline the police officer                     decision, you can contact (in writing) the
                                                                     OR                                                                                                                   Nova Scotia Police Commission and let them
Who/what can I complain about?                                                                                                 The Chief of Police will contact you in writing to         know that you would like the decision of the
                                                          Call the police station (490-5020) and ask them to                   notify you of this decision.                               Investigator to be reviewed. The actual form
You can complain about the conduct of an individual       send you a copy of the complaint form (FORM 5)                                                                                  to be filled out (FORM 15) should be attached
officer (including the chief), the police force as a      which you can fill out and send back to the station.            8.     If the Chief of Police decides to dismiss the            to information you are given by the Police
whole, special constable and municipal by-law                                                                                    complaint, and you are unhappy with this                 Department upon filing your complaint.
enforcement officers.                                     3.       Once the appropriate paper work has been filled               decision, you can contact (in writing) the
                                                                   out, you will be provided with information                    Registrar of the Police Review Board and let                The mailing address of the Nova Scotia Police
You can also make a complaint or request an inquiry                detailing the stages of the complaint process                 them know that you would like the decision of               Commission is:
into the system of policing in any municipality or the             (this is called FORM 4).                                      the Chief to be reviewed. The actual form to be
police needs of any municipality.                                                                                                filled out (FORM 13) should be attached to                  Nova Scotia Police Commission
                                                          4.       An investigator will be appointed to look into                information you are given by the Police                     P.O. Box 1573
Will it cost me anything?                                          the complaint. This investigator will contact                 Department upon filing your complaint.                      Halifax, Nova Scotia
                                                                   you.                                                                                                                      B3J 2Y3
The Police Act does specify that the Police Review                                                                               The mailing address of the Registrar is:
Board may issue costs in a judgment. This could           5.       The investigator will try to reach an informal                                                                            This form must be filed within 14 days of the
include things like the wages of the lawyer                        resolution between yourself and the police                      Registrar of the Police Review Board                      date you received the notice from the
representing the officer.                                          officer about whom you have complained.                         P.O. Box 1573                                             investigator referred to in # 10
                                                                                                                                   Halifax, Nova Scotia
In practice, the review board will only do this when           •     You do not have to accept an informal                         B3J 2Y3                                            12. The Nova Scotia Police Commission will
the board finds that the complaint at issue is made in               resolution if you do not feel it is a satisfactory                                                                   make a decision with respect to this
bad faith or is frivolous. Given that the Police Review              resolution of your complaint.                               This form must be filed within 14 days of the            application. The Commission may either:
Board can only hear your complaint if referred by the          •     You do not need to provide reasons for not                  date you received the notice from the Chief of
Commission, it may be unlikely that they would make                  accepting an informal resolution.                           Police referred to in # 7                              a.     Dismiss the application; OR
you pay such costs on the premise that such a                  •     If you choose to accept an informal resolution,                                                                    b.     Order the Investigator to refer the issue to a
complaint was totally without merit.                                 both you and the police officer must sign a          9.     The Nova Scotia Police Commission will then                   hearing of the Police Review Board
                                                                     form (FORM 7) indicating the resolution and                 hire an investigator to look into the matter. This
Making a complaint against the actions of individual                 your agreement.                                             investigator will contact you and will try to               The decision of the Nova Scotia Police
officers                                                       •     If you choose to accept an informal                         come to an informal resolution (similar to the              Commission is FINAL.
                                                                     agreement, this means that nothing will ever                procedure referred to in # 5).
                                                                     be placed on the formal record of the police                                                                     13. If the issue is (at any point) sent to a hearing
1.   You must file your complaint against an                         officer against whom you have filed your             10. If an informal resolution is not reached, the               of the Police Review Board, there are some
     individual officer within 30 days of the date of                complaint.                                               investigator will proceed with his/her                      important things you should know about this
     the event. If you have passed this 30 day period,                                                                        investigation.       At the end of his/her                  hearing:
     you can apply to the Police Review Board for an      6.       If the investigator cannot reach an informal               investigation, the investigator may either:
     extension (up to 6 months from the date of the                resolution, he/she will continue to investigate the                                                                  •      This hearing is similar to a trial
     event) BUT it is preferable that you file your                complaint. At the end of the investigation                      a.   Dismiss the application; OR                     •      The hearing is conducted by 3 persons (one
     complaint within the 30 day period                            (normally a maximum of 2 months), the                           b.   Send the issue to a hearing at the Police              of whom must be a lawyer; the other two
                                                                   investigator files a report of his/her findings with                 Review Board                                           being non-police officers/lay citizens)
2.   Go to the police station (1975 Gottingen Street,              the Chief of Police.                                                                                                 •      You can have a lawyer represent you at the
     Halifax) and communicate your complaint to the                                                                            The investigator will contact you in writing to                 hearing
     service desk (they will take down the complaint      7.       Based upon this report, the Chief of Police will            notify you of this decision.
                                                                   make a decision to either:
    •    If you do not have a lawyer, the Police         decision to you, but it is a final decision; you have   This brochure was created with information from the
         Review Board will assist you in                 no right to appeal their decision.                      following sources in Nova Scotia:
         determining who you should call as
         witnesses                                                                                               Police Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 348
    •    The Review Board has a lot of discretion in     If at any point during the process you
         their ultimate decision                                                                                 Police Regulations, N.S. Reg. 101/88 & 8/96
    •    They can award costs where appropriate
                                                         have questions or concerns, please
                                                         feel free to contact either:                            Halifax Regional Police Website:
  14. Any decision of a hearing of the Police                                                                           http://www.police.halifax.ns.ca
      Review Board is final. It is possible that the
      Nova Scotia Supreme Court will hear your           The Nova Scotia Police Commission                                                                             A STEP BY STEP GUIDE
      case, but only if they believe that the Review     (424-3246)                                                                                                    TO MAKING A FORMAL
      Board made some mistake of law or
      proceedings were otherwise so flawed as to                                                                                                                        COMPLAINT AGAINST
      merit an appeal. If you find yourself in this      OR                                                                                                                    THE
      situation, you should talk to a lawyer.

If the Nova Scotia Supreme Court decides not to hear     S.A.L.S.A.                                                 BROUGHT TO YOU BY S.A.L.S.A.                             HALIFAX
your appeal from the Review Board, that does not         (activistlaw@hotmail.com).                                                                                         REGIONAL
finish the issue. You should remember that you have                                                               (SOCIAL ACTIVIST LAW STUDENT
the option to either sue the cop or press criminal
                                                                                                                          ASSOCIATION)                                        POLICE
charges against them. If you find yourself in this
situation, you should talk to a lawyer.

Making a complaint against the Chief of Police
                                                         PLEASE NOTE – ALL THE INFORMATION
The same procedures as above apply when making a         ENCLOSED IS THE WORK OF LAW
formal complaint against the Chief of Police. The        STUDENTS, NOT LAWYERS.       THIS
only difference is that the complaint goes directly to   INFORMATION    SHOULD    NOT   BE
the Commission instead of having it first dealt with     CONSTRUED AS PROVIDING LEGAL
by the Chief or his/her appointee.                       ADVICE OR ANY SORT OF LEGAL
                                                         OPINION.   THIS IS MERELY LEGAL
From there on in, the complaint is handled in the        INFORMATION COMPILED IN A SIMPLE
same manner as is a complaint against an individual      AND EASY TO READ FORMAT.
officer.

Making a Complaint Against the Force as a Whole

You file your complaint in the same manner as you
would file a complaint against an individual officer.
However, please note that there IS NO TIME
LIMIT for filing the complaint.

  Either the Chief of Police or the Chairperson of the
  Local Board of Police Commissioners will review
                                                                       BEST OF LUCK
  your complaint. They will communicate their
                                                                                                                             Artwork by Meghan Savigny