Sudbury

Ontario review puts police oversight groups under scrutiny

Ontario’s police oversight groups are themselves under scrutiny, as a provincially-appointed group travels to Sudbury to solicit input from citizens.

Agencies facing "inefficiencies due to overlap" says spokesperson for Ontario Police Oversight Review

The Ontario Independent Police Oversight Review is travelling the province seeking input for a report that is reviewing organizations like the Special Investigations Unit, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, and the Ontario Civilian Police Commission. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

Ontario's police oversight groups are themselves under scrutiny, as a provincially-appointed group travels to Sudbury to solicit input from citizens.

Ontario's  Special Investigations Unit, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director and the Ontario Civilian Police Commission are suffering from "inefficiencies due to overlap" said Danielle Robitaille, speaking for the Ontario Police Oversight Review, and these consultations hope to identify and recommend changes to the system.

"We hear from community to community that there is a problem with these agencies in terms of overlap which creates confusion from members of the public in terms of where do they turn to," Robitaille said.

"If they have a police complaint where do they go?" 

All three oversight agencies look into cases where there has been a complaint against police. They also investigate if police are involved in a death or serious injury involving a citizen.

The Ontario government appointed a sitting judge, Justice Michael Tulloch to assemble a team to recommend changes that improve transparency and accountability in those agencies.

But Robitaille said that Tulloch prefers to conduct these reviews from the ground up, and that these consultations are the best place for people to make their voices heard.

Judge wants to look at it from citizen's perspective

"[Tulloch] wasn't going to look at the legislation down or from a policing perspective," Robitaille said. "He really wanted to look at it from the perspective of the average citizen."

"That work can only be done after we've gathered the views and insights of the public and that can only happen if people come out."

Robitaille said Justice Tulloch's final report, including any recommendations, is due at the end of March.

The meeting in Sudbury is planned for Thursday evening at Cambrian College from 5:00 pm. to 8:00 p.m.

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