In recent years, many media reports and public movements have criticized the practice of police organizations investigating their own colleagues in cases of alleged misconducts or corruption. This topic is significant because it involves the police organization, the victims and public.
First of all a number of high-priority cases, throughout 2004 to 2007, caught the attention of Commission for Public Complaints against RCMP organization and they believed that these cases indicate the practices of police investigating police is inadequate and prone to bias. The cases were scattered across Canada which also proves that this matter is extremely significant and frequent. The notion of police force seriously investigating their own colleagues is often a deception. In reality, no police officer would want to investigate and challenge their fellow colleague’s decision of breaching the law when they should be supporting instead; thus lies the problem.
With numerous cases scattered across the country regarding alleged police misconduct, many individuals won’t have much confidence towards police force. This matter is important because without an organization watching over the police force for proper measures and actions, the public’s confidence can only decrease with the poor image the police are giving to the public in relation to their incompetence in keeping the streets and community safe. If the public don’t have confidence in the police force, the public may take matters into their own hand which may violate the law. To them, they may think that since the police force isn’t following the law, why should they do it too? As a result, many vigilantes may form and commit crimes.
With the police culture of supporting your police unit, no member would betray the culture and work against the unit. The consequences of working against the unit can vary from stigmatization, total isolation, or serious violence. According to the rule of silence in police culture, where police members will distort the truth for another member’s benefit, it is fairly difficult to perform a proper investigation of the incident by the same organization. Without a proper investigation, the families of the victim and the public won’t get a proper explanation as to why their loved ones were shot or injured by the ones who suppose to protect them.
Few provinces have started setting up a privatized organization, ran by people who are former officers that are familiar to the protocols yet not-related to the police organization, which deals with complaints and concerns regarding police misconduct or corruption. As a result, with this newly created organization, the practice of police investigating police will end. Better yet, the public may gain some confidence back knowing that police individuals can be held accountable for their actions and justice is served.
As I began my preliminary research about my topic on the Google search engine, about 64,700,000 results were listed within 0.09 seconds. In the beginning I was expecting for a Wikipedia result, as I looked at the first page of my result no Wikipedia site showed up but a government site and a few multimedia newspaper website appeared. The first three results on the first page were all from a government site ran by the organization called, Commission for Public Complaints against RCMP (CPC).
First CPC link took me to their site that gave me a general overview of each activity happening inside the CPC regarding RCMP investigations from year 2007 to 2009. The second link from the CPC website contained a few paragraphs that explain why the CPC organization was created in the first place.
The third CPC link directed me to a page where A Final Public Report was published by the Chair of CPC. As the beginning paragraph illustrates, the Chair of CPC launched a Chair initiated complaint and public interest investigation on November 2007 and the purpose of the investigation was to tackle the matter where unknown RCMP individuals were undergoing criminal investigations of their colleagues involving serious injury or death that took place in April 2002 and March 2007 (Commission for Public Complaints Against RCMP, 2009). The whole report discussed some categories that were reviewed in some case files and the kinds of model CPC recommended for RCMP member investigations.
Next link from the results is an article from ChronicleHerald.ca from Nova Scotia and it illustrates that Nova Scotia will not allow cops investigating cops anymore (Jackson, 2011). Furthermore, with this new investigative unit called Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) it will soon begin investigating police individuals and their actions that lead to victims with serious injury or death and etc. The article also explains the new head members and what kind of member the SIRT will consist of in order to make the unit run perfectly.
The fifth link from my search result is from a site called, Canada.com. The site consisted of numerous paragraphs illustrating why police investigating police shootings is wrong. Throughout the reading of the paragraphs the author referred a case involving Khadija Bennis’s twin brother’s death, Mohamed Anas Bennis, whom was shot by a Montreal police officer in 2005. The author uses Bennis’s case to argue and question the procedures of investigating an alleged police individual’s misconduct and suggest the province to begin improving in order to avoid future incidents (The Gazette, 2007).
And lastly, my last link regarding police investigating police in Canada is from a website called, Themarknews.com. The article describes how two unrelated individual deaths in Montreal, Mario Hamel and Patrick Limoges; as well as the death of Mohamed Anas Bennis in 2005 and the death of teenager Fredy Villanueva in 2008, triggered this opportunity where Quebec shall begin creating a civilian investigative unit for cases that involve policing misconduct or corruption.
After going through these articles, I begin to think that most of the authors of these articles have done extensive research on cases involving police deviance. Reading through their articles, they seem to agree that police investigating police obviously don’t work well; and moreover, most suggest a separate investigative unit with no relation to the police organization itself be created to conduct an investigation with the alleged police individual who caused serious injury or death.