OFFICE OF THE POLICE COMPLAINT COMMISSIONER British Columbia Canada - PDF by robyniscrazy

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									                                      OFFICE OF THE
                             POLICE COMPLAINT COMMISSIONER

                                    British Columbia, Canada

Victoria, B.C.
November 9, 2005
For Immediate Release

              Police Complaint Commissioner releases Final Pivot Report

The Province’s Police Complaint Commissioner, Dirk Ryneveld, QC, has today released
his Final Report regarding the collection of complaints filed in June 2003 by the Pivot
Legal Society on behalf of approximately 50 residents of the Downtown Eastside of
Vancouver.

On June 1, 2005, Ryneveld released his initial report, which can be accessed at the
Commissioner’s website, www.opcc.bc.ca. The Commissioner had referred five files to
Chief Graham for reconsideration. He also referred two matters – the breach of the
peace policy and the use of knee strikes in the use of force policy – to the Vancouver
Police Board for consideration. Additionally, Commissioner Ryneveld recommended to
the Solicitor General that an audit of the complaint process be undertaken by a retired
Judge or Justice. He also recommended that legislative amendments of the Police Act
be made in keeping with his White Paper and Draft Police Complaint Act.

Chief Graham referred the two policy issues to the Vancouver Police Board for review,
as requested by Ryneveld. On two of the files previously found to be unsubstantiated,
Graham concluded that the allegations against the officers were indeed substantiated
and he meted out managerial advice for future conduct and training. In the remaining
file, Chief Graham concluded that he was not persuaded on both the evidence and his
assessment of the credibility of the witnesses that the officers had committed a
disciplinary default. He nonetheless noted the officers had not kept appropriate notes
documenting the incident in question that would have been of assistance in the
investigation. He accordingly recommended that both officers receive managerial advice
regarding the applicable policy.

Ryneveld indicated the Pivot Legal Society had requested on behalf of their clients that
public hearings be held. He discussed at length the applicable considerations for calling
a public hearing and concluded that for various reasons it would not be in the public
interest to do so. Key considerations for not calling a public hearing included:

          •    A public hearing would likely not assist in ascertaining the truth because
               the combined RCMP and VPD investigations were comprehensive;
          •   A public hearing is not necessary to preserve and restore public
              confidence in the complaint process or in the police;
          •   Former Justice J. Wood, QC is conducting an audit of municipal police,
              including the VPD, and the police complaint process and making
              recommendations for amendments to the Police Act;
          •   Although far from trivial, the seriousness of the incidents in dispute is not
              so significant as to warrant the considerable expenditure of taxpayer’s
              resources both in terms of time and money; and
          •   There is reason for optimism that, in light of a change of attitude by the
              VPD and changes in policy recommended by the Vancouver Police Board,
              the underlying problems will likely not reoccur.

Ryneveld stated that he was encouraged by a significant change of attitude by VPD
senior management since the release of his June 2005 Report and expressed optimism
for future co-operation with the police complaint process. He also commended the
Vancouver Police Board for its helpful and responsible decisions regarding the service
and policy issues that he had referred to the board for consideration.

Ryneveld also stated he is pleased that the Solicitor General appointed former Justice
Josiah Wood, QC to conduct an audit of municipal police (including VPD) handling of
Police Act complaints, and make recommendations to government for legislative
amendments to the Police Act.

In the Final Report, Ryneveld concludes as follows:

       “In all of the circumstances of this complex and protracted matter, I am satisfied
that the public interest would not be served by holding public hearings with respect to
any of the outstanding complaints in question. I am further satisfied that the audit by
Josiah Wood, QC, currently underway will…identify any additional issues that need to
be addressed respecting the police complaint process…I am persuaded that the review
by the Vancouver Police Board into both the use of force policy and the breach of the
peace policy will result in improved police practices that will benefit the public in general
and the citizens of Vancouver in particular. I therefore confirm the decisions made by
the Discipline Authority in each of these complaints and am closing my file.”

The full text of the Final Report is available at the OPCC Website, www.opcc.bc.ca, and
is located under PCC Decisions.

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Contact: Bruce Brown 250 387-5212

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