Q. How should a police service
deal with a complaint received at the police station?
A. The complaint must be mailed to the OIPRD within three business days of
receipt of the complaint. Police services may keep a copy for their records.
Notification of the complaint to the respondent officer(s) or any witness
officers must not be made until the OIPRD screens, classifies and assigns the
complaint for investigation.
What if a complaint comes to the police in writing, i.e., letter, fax, dropped
off, but is not on the prescribed form?
A. Police services must send the complaint to the OIPRD the way they
received it, within three business days of receipt of the complaint. The OIPRD
will follow up with the complainant to get it submitted on the complaint form.
If the complainant dropped it off at the police station and the officer in
charge recognizes it is not on the prescribed form they could advise the
complainant of that. If the complainant doesn't wish to fill out the proper
form, the service must still send the complaint to the OIPRD.
Q. If a complainant makes their complaint at a police station and they give evidence to the officer in charge, should he/she collect it?
A. Depending on the nature of the evidence it may be better for the police to collect and preserve it. If not collecting it at the time won't have a negative impact on the evidence (such as documents not subject to change, etc.) then complainants should be encouraged to retain it until the OIPRD determines whether an investigation will occur and who will conduct it. Where doubt exists, the police liaison officer could contact the OIPRD manager of investigations to discuss.
Q. Can I file a complaint at any police station?
A. Yes, a complainant can file a complaint at any police station in the province and can file with a different service than the one involved. Complaints about other services will be forwarded directly to the OIPRD within three business days. The OIPRD will notify the affected service.
Q. If a complaint is made to a police service and the police service launches a criminal investigation into the allegations, does the police service send the complaint to the OIPRD indicating they are conducting a criminal investigation?
A. The complaint must still be sent to the OIPRD for assessment. The OIPRD will take into consideration that a criminal investigation into the matter is ongoing. However, the OIPRD may still move forward and assign the complaint for investigation.
Q. Is a police service required to notify the OIPRD about a complaint being handled by Local Resolution?
A. Yes, the OIPRD must be notified about any resolution that is reached. The signed agreement with the complainant and respondent officer signatures must be sent to the OIPRD on the Local Resolution form within seven days of the agreement being signed.
Q. Who should sign as the officer in charge on the Local Resolution Form?
A. The officer in charge is the officer who actually resolved the matter by Local Resolution and he/she should sign the form. The officer in charge must be someone designated by the chief to resolve matters under Regulation 263/09.
Q. If the OIPRD indicates that a matter may be suitable for Informal Resolution, can a police service automatically attempt to resolve the matter informally?
A. Where the OIPRD has notified the police service that a matter may be suitable for Informal Resolution, and where the matter is less (not) serious in nature, the service can take that to mean it is authorized by the OIPRD to proceed with attempting to informally resolve the complaint.
Q. How should police handle photographs submitted by a complainant?
A. Photographs in electronic format can be loaded into a zip file, along with any other files, and forwarded through the Document Exchange (DX). If the photograph is printed it can be scanned and forwarded or mailed to the OIPRD.
Q. Do police have to copy the OIPRD on email correspondence that is sent during an investigation?
A. When a police service sends correspondence to complainants or creates documents complainants are a party to, the OIPRD must be copied (OIPRD Rules of Procedure, rule 2.14). This includes emails, decision letters, resolutions, withdrawals and investigative reports provided to complainants regarding complaints referred to the police service. Emails should be copied to the OIPRD case coordinator or investigator identified in the initial correspondence sent to the police service.
Q. Once a case has gone to a Police Services Act hearing, are police services required to copy the OIPRD on all correspondence with the complainant?
A. Once the matter is at the hearing stage neither the police service nor the prosecutor needs to copy the OIPRD on correspondence with the complainant. However, the Director must grant permission for the complainant to withdraw once the hearing has begun.
Q. After police have investigated a complaint and a decision has been made, what is sent to the complainant?
A. Each chief of police formulates their own decision letter, which must include information on how to request a review from the OIPRD. A copy of the investigative report must also be sent to the complainant and the OIPRD.
Q. Will you publish disciplinary hearing results on the OIPRD website only in cases where the officer is guilty?
A. The posted decisions will be all decisions (guilty, not guilty) stemming from public complaints only. Decisions that are being appealed will be so indicated.
Q. When a complaint that requires SIU notification is received by the OIPRD, who will notify them?
A. It is up to the police to notify the SIU in warranted situations.
Q. After an OIPRD investigation what information is provided to the complainant?
A. The Independent Police Review Director sends the chief or Commissioner a decision letter and a copy of the investigative report to be provided to the complainant. The complainant receives a letter from the Director advising them that the investigation has been completed and the findings forwarded to the chief of police/Commissioner.