Province considering civilian oversight of police misconduct investigations
Published Friday, December 2, 2011 2:29PM EST
The National Assembly is considering changing how cases of alleged police misconduct are investigated.
Currently whenever an officer fires his weapon, or otherwise seriously injures or kills someone, another police force investigates the incident.
As an example, the shooting deaths this summer of two people by Montreal police officers are being investigated by the Surete du Quebec.
Many critics say this type of system is open to abuse, since the overwhelming majority of investigations conducted in Quebec result in a determination that the officers involved were not at fault.
Even the provincial ombudsman, Raymonde St-Germain, complained that the current system was not gaining public trust.
Under proposed legislation, civilians would not conduct the investigations, but would oversee the investigators.
Public Security Minister Robert Dutil says police will still investigate police, but now would be supervised by a board expected to be transparent and publicly accountable.
The Montreal police union says that it welcomes the civilian participation.
"They are going to see how it's difficult to do the work that our officers do, to take decisions in less than a second," said Yves Francoeur of the Montreal Police Union.
The civilian oversight body would consist of people who have never worked as police officers or with a police force, and would be led by a retired judge or a lawyer with ten years of experience.
The bill will be discussed in parliamentary commissions soon, and a final form is expected to be tabled next year.