Professional Standards Section
Overview of Police Act Authority
The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner has civilian oversight authority of the British Columbia Police Act for complaints against municipal police officers. The Police Complaint Commissioner is an independent officer of the provincial legislature, with an office in Victoria. The Police Act, introduced on March 31, 2010, gave the Police Complaint Commissioner extensive authority and powers related to complaints against municipal police officers.
Accountability for Police Act Complaints
Complaints are coordinated for investigation between the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner and the Office of the Chief Constable. The Chief Constable or his delegate is the 'Discipline Authority' for municipal police departments. In accordance with the Police Act, the Police Complaint Commissioner has final authority over all police complaint investigations.
In most cases complaints are assigned to the host agency Professional Standards Section and, in some instances, the investigations will be directed to other police agencies. Police Complaint Commission staff monitor police complaint investigations concurrently through access to the investigative file and regular updates.
Once an investigation is completed, the file is submitted to the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner. Findings arrived at by the Discipline Authority must be supported in writing. Investigative reports are disclosed to the complainant and to the subject police officers. The investigative reports and findings are thoroughly examined and critically assessed by Police Complaint Commission staff. If any shortcomings are detected in the investigations, or with the findings, the Police Complaint Commissioner may direct a number of steps including: further investigation, order the matter to be re-investigated by another agency, order an independent review by an adjudicator with full authority, or direct the matter to a Public Hearing. As such, municipal police officers are held to the highest accountability by the Police Complaint Commissioner in complaint investigations.
The Professional Standards Section
The Professional Standards Section is an independent section within each municipal police department, established to investigate allegations of police misconduct. It is staffed by experienced officers with specialized training in the handling of citizen issues, complaints and police discipline. Professional Standards Investigators conduct Police Act investigations with objectivity, fairness and openness.
Other duties and responsibilities of Professional Standards Investigators include:
- Managing all aspects of complaints in compliance with the Police Act
- Reporting to the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner
- Researching and reporting on police disciplinary issues
- Producing statistics on Police Act complaints for CompStat
- Conducting risk management related to disciplinary trends and issues
- Providing Police Act training to staff
Confidentiality of Police Act Investigations
Participation in Police Act investigations by all persons is protected by the confidentiality provision of the Police Act (Section 182). The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act does not apply to any record of a complaint concerning the conduct of a member that is made, submitted, registered or processed under this Act. Police Act reports and investigations are therefore not subject to disclosure apart from exceptional circumstances, for example, where the incident is related to an ongoing or relevant criminal proceeding, or as a result of a Supreme Court civil disclosure order. You can be assured of confidentiality in the Police Act process.
Contact the Professional Standards Section
It is anticipated that in the course of thousands of contacts made annually between citizens and members of the Abbotsford Police Department, some meetings may be unsatisfactory. Often, informal resolution or mediation can address issues and lead to a satisfactory resolution. At other times, the Registered or Non Registered complaint process should be initiated to thoroughly investigate the allegations and determine the appropriate findings in accordance with the Police Act. The Abbotsford Police Department Professional Standards Section can assist you with informal resolution, mediation and investigation of complaints related to Abbotsford Police Department officers.
The Professional Standards contact information:
Staff Sergeant: 604-864-4790
Assistance with Registered (formal) and Non-Registered (informal) complaints concerning police officers can be obtained by contacting any on-duty Abbotsford Police Department Professional Standards investigator. Immediate assistance can also be obtained through contact with the on-duty patrol supervisor or senior constable 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The process for making a Registered or Non-Registered complaint is:
- Complete a Complaint form.
- Send the completed Complaint Form via e-mail, mail, facsimile or personal delivery to the Abbotsford Police Department, or to the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner.
For further information see the Interactive Complaint Process.
If you've recently observed an employee of the Abbotsford Police Department going that extra kilometer, we'd like to hear from you! We're extremely proud of not only our Department, but also of our members and civilian staff. Your comments are appreciated. You can send comments via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Staff Sergeant Paul Dhillon at 604-864-4790. If you are sending an e-mail or leaving a voice mail message please leave some contact information. We'll be in touch and make sure that the deed does not go unacknowledged.