Yukon police oversight body recommended
Yukon should set up a council to oversee RCMP in the territory, according to a task force that reviewed police services following the death of a man in custody over two years ago.
The Yukon police force review committee says a police oversight council would consist of six members, including three recommended by First Nations.
"The importance of having a forum for the police to provide information and to take questions is certainly needed," Yukon RCMP Chief Supt. Peter Clark, who co-chaired the review committee, told reporters in Whitehorse on Wednesday.
"What we heard during our review is that the citizens … were excited and pleased, in particular the First Nations governments."
The idea of a police council is one of 33 recommendations the committee made in Sharing Common Ground, its 100-page report on how to improve relations between Yukoners and the RCMP.
"This report is the first step towards renewing confidence, bringing back trust," said Yukon deputy justice minister Dennis Cooley, another committee co-chair.
Toured the territory
The policing review was launched after a coroner's inquest was held last year into the death of Raymond Silverfox, a Carmacks man who died of acute pneumonia after spending 13 hours in Whitehorse RCMP cells in December 2008.
The inquest heard that RCMP officers and guards did not provide Silverfox with medical attention in his time in custody, even though he was vomiting profusely during that time. Some officers and guards even mocked Silverfox, the inquest heard.
The details of Silverfox's death sparked a storm of public protest over RCMP conduct.
The review committee consulted with over 1,000 Yukoners as it toured the territory last summer.
Clark said there is much work to be done on the proposed Yukon police council, which would be chaired by Cooley. Talks will be ongoing with community groups to determine the council's scope, he added.
Among other things, the policing review also recommends more cultural training for new RCMP officers in the territory.
Cooley said the review's 32 other recommendations must be assessed to see how much they would cost.
"Once the priorities are established we can develop an implementation plan for how the recommendations will be implemented, and then do the costing on an individual basis," he said.