The primary purpose of the OPCC is to build and maintain the public’s confidence in the police complaints system in British Columbia. The office does this by providing independent and impartial civilian oversight of investigations into police misconduct.
Police Complaint Commissioner
The Police Complaint Commissioner is an independent Officer of the Legislature. They oversee the police complaint system and investigations into police misconduct and reports regularly to the public. They also establish guidelines on how complaints are to be handled by police and procedures for Complaint Resolution/Mediation. They can independently order investigations into allegations of police misconduct and have the authority to appoint retired judges to review matters under the Police Act.
The OPCC is not an investigative agency and does not conduct investigations into police misconduct. We are responsible for overseeing these investigations and ensuring investigations into police misconduct are conducted thoroughly and professionally.
We actively monitor and oversee police misconduct investigations as they are investigated.
The OPCC’s work is guided by the BC Police Act. The Police Complaint Commissioner can make recommendations to government to improve the Police Act with respect to police oversight.
Police Board Recommendations
The Police Complaint Commissioner can make recommendations to municipal police boards on how policing services are delivered to the public and how services and policies can be enhanced. Efforts are made to ensure that these recommendations are implemented within a reasonable timeframe.
When the Police Complaint Commissioner disagrees with a finding, they can appoint a retired judge to review the matter. Retired judges work at arms-length from the OPCC to ensure their decisions are made independently and without interference. These reviews can be a paper review of the matter or an in-person hearing where witnesses are called to testify.
The OPCC has a broad range of stakeholders. We strive to keep them informed of our role and services. We recognize that our stakeholders have individual, diverse and sometimes conflicting needs. Our stakeholders include: complainants and their advocates; municipal police bodies; adjudicators; and government.