After the IIO asserts jurisdiction over an incident, the involved police service will designate an officer who was not involved in the incident to act as the Liaison Officer (LO). The LO becomes the Subject and Witness Officer’s point of contact with IIO Investigators. The LO is expected to be a supervisor who has immediate access to the scene and to all officers whose cooperation may be needed during the IIO investigation.
If you are identified as a Subject Officer, you will be required to surrender any items in your possession at the time of the incident that may have evidentiary value. You may be asked to be photographed in order to establish your appearance at the time of and immediately subsequent to the incident.
As a Witness Officer, you are required to cooperate with the IIO and may also be required to surrender items in your possession at the time of the incident.
All property will be processed and returned as soon as practicable.
Pursuant to section 38.09 of the Police Act, “officers at the scene must take any lawful measures that appear to the officers to be necessary or expedient for the purpose of obtaining and preserving evidence relating to the matter.” Officers are required to collect evidence that would otherwise be lost prior to the IIO’s arrival at the scene; this must be documented and communicated to the IIO at the earliest possible time.
Once an IIO investigation is complete and a decision has been made whether to forward the file to Crown Counsel, Affected Persons, Subject Officers, police agency command and other relevant stakeholders (for example, the BC Coroners Service, the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner and/or the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP) are notified in writing prior to the decision being made public. Subject Officers specifically are often notified via their counsel, agency command or liaison officer.
The IIO will use a similar protocol for communicating other important decisions such as when a public report is issued. If a file has been forwarded to Crown Counsel for charge assessment, Crown become the leading agency to notify the public; however, the IIO may assist in notifying parties.
Many of the individuals involved in an IIO investigation are “suspects” in police concurrent investigations. Rather than use the terms suspect or victim, the IIO believes that more neutral language is consistent with its mandate to conduct fair and unbiased investigations.