The IIO is a civilian-led investigatory body mandated to investigate incidents where serious harm or death has occurred, and there is a connection to police action or inaction. Initial investigative steps will seek to confirm that the level of injury and connection are met, and if they are not, the IIO will usually discontinue its investigation. This occurs in approximately 75-85% of investigations.
Where both serious harm or death are confirmed to have occurred, and a connection to police action or inaction exists, the investigation will continue and culminate in a file review where all evidence is examined to determine if reasonable grounds to believe an officer may have committed an offence exist.
The Chief Civilian Director (CCD) considers all evidence collected during the investigation to determine whether there are reasonable grounds to believe any officers may have committed an offence. The IIO derives its authority from the Police Act.
The IIO was established in 2012 in response to recommendations arising from public inquiries led by Justices Braidwood and Davies. These inquiries highlighted the need for independent police oversight to increase public confidence, accountability and transparency in policing in British Columbia.