RCMP Accountability, Overview and Complaints Mechanisms

Posted: October 7, 2011 by sandhu17 in RCMP Accountability and Oversight
Tags: , , ,

In the past few years there have been a number of cases involving the RCMP that have caused a bit of an uproar in the public. These cases have mainly involved RCMP officers assaulting or wrongfully arresting citizens. Some examples of these cases are the Camilla McGuire case, in which the victim 53 years old was struck in the face by an RCMP officer. Another case occurred in Alberta in which an RCMP officer assaulted a male (Eric Oullette) while in custody. Technology has made sure that some of these acts have been captured on camera and used as evidence to hold the RCMP accountable.

What is RCMP accountability? RCMP accountability can best be defined as the responsibility that the RCMP has in regards to their duty to protect. RCMP officers have the duty to ensure the safety of the citizens of Canada. RCMP officers are supposed to uphold numerous laws such as arrests, discrimination and many more. However when an officer does something wrong then whom do we hold accountable? Obviously the officer(s) who commits the act is one of the parties who should be responsible, but we can also include the RCMP as a whole as having some responsibility.

So when an RCMP officer commits a questionable act what can a citizen do to report that act? In order to file a complaint against an officer the citizen(s) can access some sort of complaint mechanism. An example of a complaint mechanism is provided by www.cpc-cpp.gc.ca, which describes a review that can be conducted in order to see how well the RCMP are doing their job. Another complaint mechanism is the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, which is an agency responsible for receiving and investigating complaints made about the RCMP by members of the public. Another agency that deals with complaints is the SIRC (Security Intelligence Review Committee), which deals with reviewing the performance by CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) of its duties. In order to help citizens to gain more confidence in the RCMP it seems like a vital step to have an effective complaint mechanism available in case there are certain situations that are handled in a less then professional manner by the RCMP. By having more effective complaint mechanisms available to the public it will help reduce the amount of RCMP deviance and also promote more confidence in the RCMP.

After entering in RCMP accountability, overview and complaints mechanisms in the Bing search engine, the first page of results displayed 10 websites out of 19,000 overall findings. All 10 websites were fairly recent in the content that was present on the web pages. The oldest of the websites was modified in the year 2006. Wikipedia was only present when the term RCMP was searched individually from the rest of the title. There was also a lack of any multimedia and news media articles. All of the websites of the first page were government related websites and a couple of government reports (http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/LOP/ResearchPublications/prb0409-e.htm). These pages were fairly informative and had little to do with presentation and more to do with information, as each webpage consisted of 1-1/2 pages of information. One of the pages turned out to be a link to a PDF file (www.tbs-sct.gc.ca).

The websites were somewhat limited in terms of the information they provide, there isn’t too much detail but enough to get the general information. For the most part one would say that the construction of knowledge and meaning on RCMP accountability and complaints mechanisms is mainly done so by governments. This isn’t a major surprise since all of the websites are government websites (example www.parl.gc.ca)

  1. Mike Larsen says:

    You mention SIRC. What is the relationship between the RCMP and CSIS? In other words, why, in an article about RCMP accountability, are you discussing CSIS accountability? I think that there are very important reasons to make this connection, but you should clarify them for your readers. The recommendations of the O’Connor Commission would be a good resource for thinking about this.

    In June 2010, the Government of Canada announced that it would be creating a new public complaints commission for the RCMP. I wrote about the announcement here: http://prism-magazine.com/2010/06/new-rcmp-public-complaints-commission-legislation-tabled/ .

    What is the current status of this initiative? Will we be seeing a new mechanism? What *should* an RCMP accountability mechanism look like?

  2. It has been my personal ecounter and many times that the RCMP lies, it also is clearly mismanaged, has a lot of bad officiers too..

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