Seven provinces have civilian oversight bodies that investigate incidents of death, serious harm or sexual assault that could be caused by police action or inaction. The remainder rely on police departments or watchdogs from other jurisdictions.
Here are the rates of charges or referrals to the Crown from their most recent annual reports or online data. In some cases, the units did not specify if the charges relate to a case opened in the same year or a previous year.
The Special Investigations Unit closed 416 cases in 2018. No reasonable grounds for charges were found in 229 cases and 172 cases were terminated because they were found to fall outside the watchdog’s jurisdiction, for example, because the injuries weren’t considered “serious” or the injury had nothing to do with the officer.
Fifteen investigations led to charges, representing 3.6 per cent of all cases opened or six per cent of completed investigations.
The number of closed cases includes occurrences from the previous year that were closed in 2018 and does not include cases that remained open at the end of 2018.
The Independent Investigations Office began probing 127 police-related incidents in 2018-19 and closed 101 of the cases while 26 investigations were ongoing. Of the 101 cases closed, three were referred to the Crown because the watchdog believed there was a likelihood of conviction, for a rate of about three per cent.
An additional six cases were also referred to the Crown based on investigations started in previous years.
Of the 75 notifications the Independent Investigations Unit received in 2018-19, the unit assumed jurisdiction on 38 investigations, declined jurisdiction on 13 and performed a monitor role on 24. It concluded 26 investigations, two of which resulted in charges for incidents that happened in 2017 and 2018, for a rate of 7.7 per cent of concluded investigations.
The Serious Incident Response Team opened 44 files in 2018-2019. Twenty-five developed into investigations, seven of which were ongoing.
Four charges were laid in incidents that occurred that year, for a rate of nine per cent of total cases opened or 22 per cent of investigations conducted.
An additional charge was laid in an investigation launched the previous year.
Sixty-eight investigations were opened, and eight officers were charged. Some of the charges related to investigations launched in previous years and information was not immediately available on what proportion of the 68 investigations were completed within the year.
The 2018-19 annual report for the watchdog in Quebec shows 36 of 43 investigations were still in progress, while two had been referred to prosecutors.
In the previous year, 45 investigations were launched and three were ongoing. Three cases were referred to the Crown, however, it’s unclear which year the incidents occurred. Thirty-nine probes were terminated without charge recommendations.
Newfoundland & Labrador
The Serious Incident Response Team was established last year and named its first director in September. It has not yet posted any completed investigations online.
The Canadian Press
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