The manner in which your complaint is handled is dependent on the conduct about which you are complaining. If the conduct is of a less serious nature, it may be appropriate for informal resolution or mediation. Informal resolution and the mediation process is encouraged by the Police Act and the Police Complaint Commissioner for this type of conduct.
If it is appropriate for an informal resolution, you will have input as to what will constitute the resolution. A resolution has to be agreed to by both the person(s) making the complaint, and the officer that the complaint concerns. The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) reviews the resolution to ensure it is proper.
In order for a complaint to be considered in a manner other than an informal resolution, it is required that the complaint be committed to writing. This will constitute the complaint being registered as per the Police Act. Either the Professional Standards Office or the OPCC can supply a complaint form, and may receive a complaint. Once a registered complaint has been received by either the Saanich Police or the OPCC, a series of timelines start. These timelines ensure your complaint is resolved within a prescribed period of time. The registering of a complaint does not negate the possibility of informal resolution or mediation, in fact the Act encourages it.
The Act also provides for the complainant to have a support person with them through out the process. A list of support persons may be obtained from the Professional Standards Officer or the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner.
If the complaint is not appropriate for an informal resolution, the complainant(s) has little say as to the outcome of the process. Although the complainant has the opportunity to make submissions at various stages of the process, the outcome is not based on their desires. The Police Act complaint procedure is in place, in part, to deal the conduct of officers. The main focus of the Act is corrective actions, that is, to ensure the conduct is corrected and not repeated.
Disciplinary measures are sometime required in either the public interest, or to ensure the conduct is not repeated. This decision is left to the Discipline Authority who reviews the final investigation report. The decision of the Discipline Authority is reviewed by the Police Complaint Commissioner.
At any point, if a complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of the registered complaint investigation, they may ask the Police Complaint Commissioner to review the matter.
Reports are sent to the complainant and respondent at various stages of the process. Once an investigation is started, all parties involved receive progress reports every 20 business days. The investigation must be concluded within six months of the complaint being registered.
For information on the mediation process you can either refer to the OPCC's information brochure, or contact the Saanich Police Professional Standards Office or the OPCC directly.
The Complaint Form is available on-line for download in MS Word and PDF format.