No names

RCMP has stopped re­leas­ing names in fa­tal ac­ci­dents

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE PROVINCE -

RCMP has ended their long com­mon prac­tice in P.E.I. of re­leas­ing the names of de­ceased vic­tims killed in mo­tor ve­hi­cle col­li­sions and other tragic ac­ci­dents.

The force on the Is­land is sim­ply fol­low­ing the new na­tional pol­icy of the fed­eral polic­ing agency.

A na­tional spokesper­son for the RCMP told The Guardian Fri­day no one was avail­able for an in­ter­view.

Rather, a state­ment was emailed lay­ing out the pol­icy.

“The Pri­vacy Act is de­signed to pro­tect in­for­ma­tion, such as the names of de­ceased vic­tims, un­less there is an ap­pli­ca­ble ex­emp­tion un­der the Act,’’ states the re­lease.

“As with all of our in­ves­ti­ga­tions, our fo­cus re­mains on the safety and pro­tec­tion of the public.’

The RCMP notes the Pri­vacy Act al­lows ex­emp­tions, such as the fol­low­ing, un­der which per­sonal in­for­ma­tion may be dis­closed:

— When the in­for­ma­tion is al­ready pub­licly avail­able.

— When dis­clo­sure is nec­es­sary to fur­ther an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

— When in the opin­ion of the head of the in­sti­tu­tion the public in­ter­est in dis­clo­sure clearly out­weighs any in­va­sion of pri­vacy or dis­clo­sure would clearly ben­e­fit the in­di­vid­ual to whom the in­for­ma­tion re­lates.

“How­ever,’’ notes the na­tional po­lice agency, “even when an ex­emp­tion may ap­ply it is dis­cre­tionary and the RCMP will bal­ance the in­ter­ests in dis­clos­ing the in­for­ma­tion against the pri­vacy in­ter­ests in­volved.’’

The RCMP adds it does not need the fam­ily’s con­sent be­fore pub­licly nam­ing vic­tims. In fact, a fam­ily can­not ac­tu­ally give con­sent to dis­close another’s in­for­ma­tion.

How­ever, in some cases where a dis­clo­sure is per­mit­ted un­der the Pri­vacy Act ex­emp­tions, the RCMP may choose to ei­ther con­sult or in­form the fam­ily depend­ing on the in­di­vid­ual cir­cum­stance.

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