THE ONTARIO CIVILIAN COMMISSION ON POLICE SERVICES|
Report on an inquiry into administration of internal investigations by the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force
ConclusionIn its final submission to this Inquiry -- two years after the Junger case became a public issue -- the Metropolitan Toronto Police Services Board has indicated that it is prepared to assume greater responsibility in future (p. 33):
The Board is in agreement that with the benefit of hindsight, it could have done much more than it did with regards to the Junger matter.The admission is belated, but welcome. However, we believe the Board must go further than what it has proposed in its submission.
To indicate its resolve to exercise its responsibility for the quality of policing in Metropolitan Toronto, the Board should review its policies and procedures to ensure that it is representing the expectations of the community, providing direction for effective management of the force and fulfilling its function to direct and monitor the performance of the Chief.
The Board should review all the evidence presented during this Inquiry and take whatever action it considers to be necessary and appropriate.
Despite Police Chief McCormack's defence of his own and the force's actions during testimony before this Inquiry, the final submission by counsel on behalf of the Chief (p. 2) at least acknowledged that:
...concerns which have emerged during the course of this Inquiry have provided further initiative for the re-evaluation of practices and procedures relating to internal investigations.It is essential that the Metropolitan Toronto force continue to re-evaluate and improve, in keeping with the new Police Services Act and in light of legitimate concerns that police who police themselves must do so with the utmost rigour.
It is unfortunate that the Internal Affairs unit has chosen, in the final analysis, to defend its actions as "totally proper, totally correct and totally legal". As we have already noted, Internal Affairs demonstrated skill and thoroughness in the gathering of evidence in the Junger and Whitehead cases. But, as has been documented throughout this report, its subsequent performance was anything but perfect.
The attitude of Internal affairs, as expressed in its final submission, seems to be that its members have learned nothing from this Inquiry, and have nothing to learn.
That is an attitude that has to change.
All police officers must be cognizant of their duty to the public. But officers who handle investigations into alleged wrongdoing by members of their own force must be especially sensitive to the need to be fair, open and accountable and to demonstrate the highest standards of integrity and professionalism.
Our hope is that this Inquiry will lead to a more responsible and accountable police force and Police Services Board. But that will only happen if those involved are willing to accept criticism, recognize that errors were made and make changes.
To be effective, police need community support and cooperation. That support and cooperation is based in part on confidence in the integrity of the force to police its own. It must be made clear to all the people who live and work in Metro and who visit here that the Metropolitan Toronto police Force is determined to investigate alleged wrongdoing by officers and prosecute substantiated cases vigorously and expeditiously. Public confidence depends on it.
It will not be sufficient for the Police Services Board and the Chief to make statements to that effect. The commitment will have to extent to every unit commander and every division of the force. It will have to be demonstrated that mistakes of the past will not be repeated.
We direct that the Police Services Board and the Chief report to the Ontario Civilian Commission on the Police Services within six month on the actions taken in response to this report.
Education of BoardsTestimony at this Inquiry indicated a considerable amount of confusion and misunderstanding about the role of Police Services Boards -- how much they can become involved in management of the force, what information they are entitled to have, and what their responsibilities are.
The Solicitor General of Ontario should implement an educational program for members of Police Services Boards across Ontario to ensure that they are apprised of their authority and responsibilities. This is an opportune time for training for all board members, given that a new Police Services Act came into effect only last year.
Police Services Boards across Ontario should take into account the recommendations in this report which relate to policies of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Services Board and practices of the force. In particular, Boards should review their own requirements for reporting by the Chief of Police, and policies and procedures for the laying of criminal or disciplinary charges against officers.
Recommendation 21To indicate its resolve to exercise its responsibilities for the quality of policing in Metropolitan Toronto, the Police Services Board should review its policies and procedures to ensure that it is representing the expectations of the community, providing direction for effective management of the force, and fulfilling its function to direct and monitor the performance of the Chief. The Board should review the evidence presented during this Inquiry and take whatever action it considers to be necessary and appropriate.
Recommendation 22The Metropolitan Toronto Police Services Board and the Chief of Police shall report to the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police services within six months on actions taken in response to this report.
Recommendation 23The Solicitor General of Ontario should implement an educational program for members of Police Services Boards across Ontario to ensure that they are apprised of their authority and responsibilities.
Recommendation 24Police Services Boards across Ontario should review their policies and procedures to ensure that they comply with the spirit of the recommendations in this report that affect the manner in which Boards carry out their responsibilities.
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Created: September 30, 1998|
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