At­lantic po­lice watch­dog pro­posed

Four pro­vin­cial deputy min­is­ters agree in prin­ci­ple to estab­lish re­gional team

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND -

Plans are in the works to cre­ate a sin­gle, civil­ian-led agency to po­lice the po­lice in At­lantic Canada.

Se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials in the four prov­inces have con­firmed the plan is to ex­pand Nova Sco­tia’s Se­ri­ous In­ci­dent Re­sponse Team into a re­gion­wide in­ves­ti­ga­tor.

How­ever, some ob­servers say the four prov­inces should take the op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate a re­gional watch­dog that can go be­yond sim­ply as­sess­ing

whether of­fi­cers have bro­ken a law.

John Sewell, a for­mer mayor of Toronto and ex­pert on po­lice is­sues, says if the At­lantic prov­inces want to ex­pand the agency, they should also give it the power to make rec­om­men­da­tions on how po­lice can im­prove their per­for­mance.

Four deputy min­is­ters of jus­tice met in early June and came to an agree­ment in prin­ci­ple to estab­lish a re­gional team.

Michael Comeau, deputy min­is­ter of jus­tice in New Brunswick, says there are de­tails

still to be worked out on fund­ing and other is­sues, but he says the deputies agreed a sin­gle agency could be rec­om­mended to their re­spec­tive cab­i­net min­is­ters.

The ex­ist­ing watch­dog in Nova Sco­tia, led by for­mer pros­e­cu­tor Ron Mac­Don­ald, has a man­date to in­ves­ti­gate cases that in­volve death, se­ri­ous in­jury, sex­ual as­sault, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence or other mat­ters of “sig­nif­i­cant public in­ter­est” that may have re­sulted from the ac­tions of a po­lice of­fi­cer, and to de­cide if charges should be laid.

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