The independent agency that investigates public complaints against the RCMP is closing its Surrey office, leaving one former chair questioning if civilian oversight of the national police force will be the casualty.
Tim Cogan with the “Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP” says they will streamline operations out of the Ottawa office to free up money for investigations.
“It won’t affect us in a negative way; our expectation is it will affect us in a positive way. We are going to be more centralized and more co-ordinated.”
“It’s a business decision to streamline our operations and allow us to put more of our limited capital resources into actual investigations.”
But former chair Shirley Heafy says BC has the largest contingent of RCMP members, and complaints, so getting rid of the office doesn’t make sense.
“When you have a province like BC where there are thousands of members of the RCMP, that deserves attention, that deserves descent oversight, knowing what that Surrey office carried out, and the success it had, I don’t have confidence in an Ottawa office.”
“It will delay right across the board. This is not a good thing all around for civilian oversight of the RCMP; it’s going back in time.”
Around 20 full time staff is responsible for dealing with around 2500 complaints, and 4000 interactions, every year.