Independent Investigations Office
For Immediate Release
Surrey, B.C. — The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of BC is responding to the statements made, particularly by Indigenous Peoples and the National Police Federation (NPF), regarding the delays related to IIO investigation 2017-083.
“The IIO investigation into this incident, as evidenced by the significant charges laid yesterday, was exceptionally complex and was extraordinarily demanding in terms of resources. Indigenous Peoples, including the family of the deceased as reported by the BC Civil Liberties Association, and the NPF, have stated that the six-year delay, which includes the almost three years it took the BC Prosecution Service to review the IIO investigation and approve charges, is unacceptable and unfair. To be blunt – I agree. The time it has taken to lay charges in this very serious matter is unacceptable,” said Ronald J. MacDonald, KC, Chief Civilian Director of the IIO.
“It has been clear to me since shortly after I arrived at the IIO that we are hindered by our inability to attract and retain enough qualified and experienced investigators to fully and properly staff the IIO. My office has been calling for changes to both the IIO funding level and compensation model for several years to address these issues, and we made this ongoing struggle public almost a year ago. We also need to be able to hire the best people to do this job without the current restrictions contained within the legislation. I am still waiting for any changes to come to fruition.”
MacDonald continues, “IIO Investigators are exceptional at what they do, and those who remain at the IIO do so because they believe in the work we do and the importance it has for the people of British Columbia. Passion for justice only gets one so far – everyone at the IIO is currently struggling with the intense demands of this work as we continue to operate with an entire team of Investigator positions vacant. It is taking a toll on them personally, so much so that I am concerned about their well-being. Without changes, there can be no reasonable expectation that the IIO will be able to continue delivering fair and thorough investigations to the standard required in a timely fashion.”
“While we hope these charges and the subsequent court process will now bring some closure in this matter, I will continue to urge government to make the necessary changes for the IIO to provide the service that British Columbians both expect and deserve from our office.”
The IIO is the Independent civilian oversight agency of the police in British Columbia. It investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death, whether or not there is any allegation of wrongdoing.