Quebec Police Ethics Report

For those of you who missed it (I certainly did), Jacques Dupuis’ annual police ethics report was released at the end of October. Guess what? Complaints are up! Here’s the report:

DISTRIBUTION: Attention News Editors
LENGTH: 1006 words
HEADLINE: Tabling of the 2005-2006 Police Ethics Commissioner’s Management Report
DATELINE: MONTREAL Oct. 31

On October 31, 2006, Mr. Jacques Dupuis, Minister of Public Security, filed the Police Ethics Commissioner’s Management Report before the National Assembly for the period between April 1, 2005 and March 31, 2006.The Police Ethics Commissioner is a free-standing, independent institution responsible for the civilian oversight of Québec police officers and special constables, and of highway controllers of the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec. To this end, the Commissioner receives and investigates complaints from the public and, if appropriate, enforces the Code of ethics of Québec Police officers through the process of conciliation between the parties or citations before the ethics tribunal.

Highlights
– Complaints received
– 1,381 ethics complaints were received this year. This is a record level
of complaints.
– These complaints involved:
– for 37.8% of them, behaviours liable to damage the confidence and
consideration required of police officers in the performance of their
duties: rudeness, arrogance, refusal to produce official
identification, etc.;
– for 33.9% of them, abuse of authority, such as: the use of excessive
force, threats or harassment, etc.;
– for 23.6% of them, behaviours that could be detrimental to the
authority of the law and the courts, such as: failing to obtain the
necessary warrants, or arbitrary arrests and detentions.
– Breakdown of complaints by police force
– 23.5% of the complaints involved members of the Sûreté du Québec (SQ),
36.7%, members of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM –
Montreal Police Department), 37.1%, other municipal police forces, and
2.7%, special constables or highway controllers. However, we should
point out that this year, there was a significant downturn in
complaints involving the Sûreté du Québec. In fact, in 2004-2005, 35.3%
of the complaints concerned members of this police force. This
situation is apparently consistent with the job action affecting the
activities of the police force during the fiscal period.
– Service accessibility
– A 55.2% increase in the use of our Internet site. In order to maintain
interest for the site and make it easier to consult, upgrading was
started.
– A 20% increase in the welcoming, information and assistance activities
provided to citizens. The consolidation of these activities was and
remains a priority, especially the strengthening of the bonds with
cultural communities.
– An unprecedented consequent increase in the number of police ethics
complaints, to 1,381 complaints, i.e., 66% more than in 2004-2005. An
action plan aimed at ensuring a broader release of our information
papers is in the process of achievement.
– Organizational performance
– The absorption of the bulk of the complaints’ increase by refining the
initial investigative procedure. Thus, at this stage, the Commissioner
has closed 8.6% more files (802 written and reasoned decisions) within
40 days of their opening (58.5% in 2005-2006 compared with 49.9% in
2004-2005).
– A consistent gain of 10.3 days by the agency on the global complaint
processing time despite a significant increase in activities (75.8 days
in 2005-2006 instead of 86.1 days in 2004-2005).
– Maintenance of a high conciliation success rate (79.8% success rate)
for 428 sessions held, within an average time of 56.6 days, throughout
the Québec territory.
– Filing of 144 ethics investigation reports, including the one produced
in the Marshall case following the mandate entrusted by the Minister of
Public Security.
– Thus, 208 investigated files were the subject of 137 written and
reasoned decisions to close a file and 71 files allowed for citations
to be brought before the Comité de déontologie policière (Police Ethics
Committee) (ethics tribunal).
– The maintenance, since October 2005, of an average processing time of
47 days, which had never been seen in police ethics, for new files
destined to be the subject of decisions after investigation. The
target set for 2006-2007 is 45 days.
– Despite these results bearing witness to our agency’s remarkable
performance, the Commissioner succeeded in maintaining a fiscal balance
in a context that forced us to offer more high-quality services for
least-cost.
– Development of a preventive approach
– Making various recommendations to police services to avoid situations
deemed detrimental: use of plastic bullets, identification of police
officers during crowd control operations, conditions of confinement in
certain police stations, confidentiality of polygraph tests, co-
ordination of stakeholders during disappearances, keeping of certain
registers and the exhaustiveness of various police reports.
– Implication in government and police work to fight racial profiling and
other illicit forms of discrimination. A preliminary report by a police
work force in which the Deputy Commissioner actively participated
recently proposed , avenues to explore and concrete actions to address
the problem. Carrying on these activities is not only effective in
terms of prevention but also as a means of strengthening the confidence
of our clienteles (police and related community environment).
– Information and exchange meetings with directors of police services,
their internal affairs officers, as well as the new cohorts of the
École nationale de police and the police technology students.
This management report can be consulted in its entirety on the site:

www.deontologie-policiere.gouv.qc.ca/communiques
Source:
Me Louise Letarte
Telephone: (418) 643-7897

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