OIPRD to Review Toronto Police Service's Use of Force

TORONTO, Feb. 24, 2014 /CNW/ - The Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) is conducting a review of Toronto Police Service's (TPS) use of force, de-escalation techniques and approach in dealing with people with mental health issues, emotionally disturbed people and people in crisis.

"Recent high-profile cases of Toronto Police Service's use of force have raised concerns among Toronto citizens and affected public confidence in policing. In addition, my office has received public complaints that are significant enough, in my opinion, to warrant a systemic review. I believe it is in the public interest for the OIPRD, as an impartial civilian oversight agency, to undertake this review."
- Gerry McNeilly, Independent Police Review Director

The review will examine public complaints filed and evidence collected from complaint investigations, recent high-profile use of force incidents involving the TPS, past reviews and reports involving similar issues, including the recently completed coroner's inquest that examined some, but not all, of the issues to be addressed in this review. The review will examine TPS policies, procedures and practices regarding use of force and equipment, officer training, best practices from other jurisdictions and relevant research and data. The review will also consider submissions from stakeholders and the public. A final report summarizing the findings of the review and outlining recommendations and advice for the overall improvement of police practices will be released to the public.

The Police Services Act gives the Independent Police Review Director the power to examine and review issues of a systemic nature that are the subject of, or that give rise to, public complaints. It also allows the Director to make recommendations regarding these issues to Ontario's Solicitor General, Attorney General, chiefs of police, police services boards and other persons or organizations, in order to enhance public confidence and trust in police and policing.

OIPRD FACTS

  • The OIPRD receives, manages and oversees all public complaints against the police in Ontario. This includes Ontario's municipal and regional police services and the Ontario Provincial Police.
  • Read the Terms of Reference for the review.
  • Visit the OIPRD website to learn more about the public complaints system.
 

BACKGROUNDER

OIPRD Releases Terms of Reference for TPS Use of Force Review

February 24, 2014

The Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) has established Terms of Reference for its systemic review of Toronto Police Service's (TPS) use of force, lethal use of force, de-escalation techniques and approach in dealing with individuals with mental health issues, emotionally disturbed people and people in crisis.

A systemic review examines the systems - policies, procedures and practices - and the root causes that promote or perpetuate systemic issues within a police service. The purpose of a systemic review is not to assign individual fault, but to determine whether systemic failings have occurred and identify issues to be addressed in order to make recommendations to enhance public confidence in police and policing.

TERMS OF REFERENCE

The systemic review will examine the following:

  • Training provided by the Ontario Police College and TPS for deployment of use of force generally, and specifically regarding the application of the principles related to Ontario's use of force guidelines and the TPS use of force model
  • TPS and the Ontario Police College officer training related to dealing with people with mental health issues, emotionally disturbed people and people in crisis
  • Accountability and leadership in training and supervising officers dealing with people with mental health issues, emotionally disturbed people and people in crisis, and identifying and addressing early signs of behavioural issues in officers
  • TPS policies, procedures and practices as they relate to use of force, equipment - including conducted energy weapons - officer supervision and oversight, de-escalation, crisis negotiation, barricaded suspects and dealing with people with mental health issues, emotionally disturbed people and people in crisis
  • TPS response to the Toronto Police Services Board's oversight and direction regarding use of force policies, accountability and training for dealing with people with mental health issues, emotionally disturbed people and people in crisis
  • Record of TPS in implementing recommendations made by Coroner's inquests and other reviews related to police interaction with people with mental health issues, emotionally disturbed people and people in crisis
  • Record of TPS in implementing recommendations coming out of the public complaint system for improving interactions between the police and the public

PROCESS

The Independent Police Review Director and appointed OIPRD investigators will conduct the investigations for the review. Under the Public Inquiries Act, the Director and appointed investigators have the power to summon witnesses and the ability to require the production of documents.

The OIPRD will review and analyze public complaints filed and evidence collected, including videos, photographs, documents, interviews and forensic evidence, along with recent use of force incidents and issues involving the TPS, including the recently completed coroner's inquest that examined some, but not all, of the issues to be addressed in this review. The review will examine TPS policies, procedures and practices, training material and instruction. The review will also gather information and examine relevant research, data and best practices from other jurisdictions.

The OIPRD invites written submissions from stakeholders and the public with expertise and interest in use of force issues. Written submissions should include the name of the organization or person delivering the submission, along with reasons for the stakeholder's interest in the issues of the OIPRD's use of force systemic review. The deadline for receipt of submissions is April 4, 2014.

To request a summary of submission guidelines and a list of topics that the OIPRD has identified as central issues to be examined as part of the review, email the OIPRD at OIPRD@ontario.ca or write to:

Use of Force Systemic Review
Office of the Independent Police Review Director
655 Bay Street, 10th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 2T4

The OIPRD will prepare a final report summarizing the findings of the review and outlining recommendations and advice for the overall improvement of police practices. The report will be released to the public. 

 

SOURCE Office of the Independent Police Review Director

For further information:

Rosemary Parker,
416 -314- 4517
www.oiprd.on.ca
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