The province’s civilian police watchdog has adopted all the “no-brainer” recommendations and failed to make any “hard-core” changes to deal with the police bias clouding its investigations nine months after a scathing report, Ontario’s ombudsman said yesterday.
“Quite frankly, the impression I get from the SIU is that they’ve eaten their dessert before their main course; they’ve latched on to easy recommendations,” ombudsman Andre Marin said yesterday as he released his annual report.
Marin had called for a massive overhaul of the Special Investigations Unit in a special report last September, calling the watchdog a “toothless tiger” that had lost the public’s confidence.
Investigations into police shootings were done “through blue-coloured glasses,” Marin had said as he made 46 recommendations, including 25 aimed directly at the SIU. Those included recommendations that the agency aggressively seek the reasons for police non-co-operation and ensure police officers who are witness to a police shooting be questioned immediately.
“Any qualified investigator will tell you that the best evidence is your freshest evidence — look at the biggest black eye given to the RCMP as a result of the (Robert) Dziekanski report:
Apart from the actual discharging of the Taser, it was the suggestion officers had colluded in preparing their notes before giving statements to the investigating authorities,” Marin said.
Marin’s office is now launching a review into the SIU’s response to find out what happened to the recommendations.