Police Act Amendments Regarding Policing Committees

Resolution Year: 
2016

WHEREAS Alberta has five legislatively based policing committees; and

WHEREAS more than 40 communities within Alberta are eligible to have a legislatively based policing committee; and

WHEREAS there is no legislative requirement to have a policing community in eligible communities; and

WHEREAS anecdotally, AAPG has been informed that the requirement to have a public complaint director is a barrier to having a policing committee in many communities; and

WHEREAS the Alberta government has stated its support for police governance and community input into policing for all Alberta communities;

THEREFORE LET IT BE RESOLVED THAT the Alberta Association of Police Governance urge the Province of Alberta to amend subsection 23 of the Police Act, RSA 2000, C.P-17, to mandate policing committees in eligible communities and make public complaint directors optional in communities with a policing committee.

Background: 

Police governance bodies provide a valuable contribution to communities. They ensure that the local police service fulfills its duty to the public, enhances transparency and accountability of the police and ensure community input into local policing priorities.

The loss of a number of these committees over the past few years is a loss for the local residents of those communities.

AAPG has been told by communities that have policing committees and those that are eligible to have a policing committee that the requirement to have a public complaint director is a deterrent to keeping or establishing a public complaint director. Smaller communities have few complaints each year and the onus on these communities to recruit, train and retain an individual in this position is onerous. A policing committee can monitor public complaints through statistical reporting from the detachment commander. A policing committee can also continue to receive complaints from individuals who do not want to file a complaint directly with the RCMP. These complaints would follow the regular process of being passed on to the detachment for investigation.

Both Alberta Justice and Solicitor General and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have stated their support for increased community input in policing. This has formed part of the joint business plan in the past, The RCMP continue to promote community consultative groups, in whatever form, in all of its detachments in Alberta. Mandating policing committees complements this work by the RCMP.

Policing in Alberta will be enhanced by the promotion of strong police governance practices throughout the province. Mandating policing committees is a positive step forward in this regard.

Response: 

The department is aware of barriers certain municipalities face in establishing and supporting a policing committee and welcomes any suggestions to overcome those barriers. This will be added to the list of
proposed Police Act amendments that the department is maintaining as it will require further discussion with policing stakeholders.