Complaints down from 2016: commissioner
In 2017 a total of 109 formal complaints were received, down from 122 a year earlier. The most common complaint is the use of unnecessary violence or excessive force followed closely by being discourteous or uncivil.
Max Churley, Commissioner of The Law Enforcement Review Agency (LERA) said that the average timeframe for completion of an investigation decreased from 9 months in 2016 to 8 months in 2017.
LERA does not investigate criminal matters or service complaints, as they focus on the way municipal police officers conduct themselves on duty, promoting a high standard of professional conduct among officers and providing citizens with an independent investigation and review of conduct complaints when they arise. Criminal matters presently must be referred to the Crown for investigation by the police and service complaints fall under the authority of the Chief of Police. Manitoba’s civilian-led Independent Investigation Unit (IIU) conducts transparent and independent investigations of all serious incidents involving police.
The 109 formal complaints registered in 2017 included allegations as follows:
- breaches of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
- making an arrest without reasonable or probable grounds;
- using unnecessary violence or excessive force;
- using oppressive or abusive conduct or language;
- being discourteous or uncivil;
- making false statement;
- improperly disclosing information;
- damaging property or failing to report damage; and
- failing to provide assistance.
Complaints can be concluded by referral to a Provincial Court Judge for a hearing; admission of a disciplinary default by an officer; or resolution through an informal mediation process. Of the 190 files opened in 2017, 81 were resolved at intake or following preliminary enquiries, one complaint was resolved through mediation, while others were abandoned by the complainant or closed as there was insufficient evidence to justify referral to a hearing.
The complete report can be found on the agency’s website at: