The OIPRD accepts complaints about the conduct of a police officer or the policies and services of a police department.
- conduct complaints: the behaviour of a police officer
- policy complaints: the rules and standards of a police department that guide how an officer delivers police services
- service complaints: relate to how effectively and efficiently a particular department performs its duties
The police have a code of conduct to follow that includes:
- to act with honesty and integrity
- to treat people with respect
- not to abuse the extraordinary powers and authority police officers are granted
- to act in a manner that does not discredit or undermine public confidence in the police service
The code of conduct identifies the following 10 acts as potential matters for investigation and possible discipline:
- discreditable conduct
- neglect of duty
- breach of confidence
- corrupt practice
- unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority
- damage to clothing or equipment
- consumption of drugs or alcohol in a manner prejudicial to duty
- conspiring, abetting or being an accessory to misconduct
Who can a complaint be about?
The OIPRD can only deal with complaints about sworn police officers in Ontario. This includes municipal and regional police services and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). This does not include: RCMP officers, TTC special constables, GO transit police, First Nations Police Officers, court officers, campus police, provincial offences officers or special constables.
Although you can file a complaint about the Commissioner and deputy commissioners of the OPP, the OIPRD does not investigate or oversee these complaints. The Solicitor General (Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services
) has the sole responsibility for dealing with complaints about the Commissioner and deputy commissioners.
Who can make a complaint?
Any member of the public can file a complaint with our office. You do not have to be a resident of Ontario to file a complaint.
In order to ensure a fair process for both parties, anonymous or unsigned complaints are not accepted. This is to allow complaints that are screened in to be properly investigated. Anonymous complaints do not provide a way for complainants to be interviewed or for the respondent officer to answer the complaint.
You can make a complaint about a police officer if you:
- have a concern or were offended by something a police officer(s) said or did to you
- were a witness to an incident involving a police officer(s) that concerned or offended you
- are concerned or distressed as a result of the way a relative or friend has been treated by a police officer(s)
- are acting on behalf of an individual listed above; for example, a member of an organization who has been given written permission to make a complaint on another's behalf
- have a complaint that a police department has not provided proper service
- have a complaint about a policy of a police department
The following people cannot file a complaint with the OIPRD:
- the Solicitor General (Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services)
- an employee of the Office of the Independent Police Review Director
- a member or employee of the Ontario Civilian Police Commission
- a member or auxiliary (civilian) member of a police service cannot complain about their own service
- an employee of the Ontario Provincial Police cannot complain about the OPP
- a member or employee of a police services board cannot complain about their own service
- a person selected by the council of a municipality to advise another municipality's police services board cannot complain about that service
- a delegate to an OPP community policing advisory committee cannot complain about the detachment they advise