|Future Integrity of the RCMP Hangs in the Balance|
News Release - February 9, 2011
This morning the BC Civil Liberties Association released “Small Town Justice: A report on the RCMP in Northern and Rural British Columbia.” BCCLA travelled to 14 rural and northern B.C. communities.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, commented "I am deeply disappointed at how prevalent and widespread the complaints are with respect to the consistent instances of poor judgement and abusive misconduct of certain members of the RCMP."
The BCCLA listened to more than 300 British Columbians who spoke of the good, like police officers walking the beat, and the bad, like allegations of systemic rights violations against aboriginal people, youth and the homeless. A common concern was police investigating police.
"Clearly it is time for the RCMP to 'get off their high horse' and be made to become more fully and completely accountable to the aboriginal and non-aboriginal citizens of the communities they serve,” said Grand Chief Phillip. “In this regard, the practice of the RCMP investigating the misconduct of their own members must stop and be replaced by a truly independent 'arms-length' civilian-led process."
Grand Chief Phillip concluded “It is apparent that a number of incidents outlined in the report involved issues of substance abuse or homelessness. Police should not simply criminalize people for their substance abuse or circumstances of homelessness. It is too easy to dismiss someone battling their addictions by labeling them a ‘chronic offender.’ It is why, as part of the Inquiry into the Death of Frank Paul, Justice Davies recommended civilian-operated sobering centres, enhanced civilian-based detoxification programs and low-barrier housing. Enacting local bylaws, removing people from town parks and throwing them in jail is not a solution.”
The full report is available at:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Union of BC Indian Chiefs
Phone: (604) 684-0231