RCMP has stopped releasing names in fatal accidents
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.