Civilian Quebec police probes sought
Quebec's ombudsman wants a major overhaul of the way police investigate injuries and deaths during their operations.
Raymonde Saint-Germain said the province's current system — in which police investigators from one force probe incidents of civilian injury involving other forces — doesn't foster public confidence.
What Quebec needs is a stand-alone, civilian investigative unit, instead of allowing police to investigate each other, Saint-Germain said.
"I believe that this independent body is now the solution," she declared after releasing her long-awaited report on police investigations.
"The way to act should be professional and independent. This is the only way to get the confidence of the population and to have a process that is credible and impartial," Saint-Germain said.
Police accountability has come under fire in the province in the wake of a handful of deadly police shootings in past years.
One of the most recent involved Fredy Villanueva, an 18-year old Montrealer who was shot dead in 2008 in a parkside confrontation with two local officers. Provincial police were asked to investigate the incident and concluded the Montreal officers acted appropriately.
A coroner's inquest into Villanueva's death is now underway.
The Parti Québécois echoed Saint-Germain's report, urging the government to adopt the recommendation.
"We [would] resolve the problem of impartiality, or the appearance of partiality that we have right now with the current system," said PQ MNA Bertrand Saint-Arnaud.
Public security minister Jacques Dupuis said he is studying the report.
"We are thinking about possible ways of changing the way in which those investigations are conducted," he said.
Ontario is among a handful of Canadian provinces that has a civilian body to review police operations.
The province's Liberal government instituted its Independent Police Review Act in 2007.