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Saturday, October 20, 2007

RCMP: Trust in policing needs improved accountability


An Op-Ed released on September 26, 2007 by Paul Kennedy, The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP (the civilian accountability tribunal which reviews the on-duty conduct of RCMP members), says - among other things:

"One case reviewed this year involved the use of the Taser gun, which administers an electric shock, against an intoxicated woman. She was tasered twice while handcuffed. The CPC found that, although the woman was not cooperative, she posed no physical threat to the officer. Therefore, according to the CPC, the use of the Taser was improper. The Commission recommended policy changes to ensure that the Taser is not used when a citizen's behaviour might be classified as uncooperative or resistant rather than combative. Uncooperative citizens should be controlled by less intrusive techniques that pose less risk than the Taser."

"One of the issues I address in the proposed legislation is public concerns about police investigating themselves. Citizens must have confidence that investigations into serious incidents that raise questions about the actions of the police are treated impartially and transparently. Even within the current review structure, we launched an innovative pilot project in collaboration with the RCMP's Office of Investigative Standards and Practices in B.C. It assigns Commission staff to observe and to assess the impartiality of RCMP investigations involving actions of its members when there is serious injury or death, and for other investigations that are high profile and sensitive in nature."

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