Report on an inquiry into administration of internal investigations by the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force


Summary of Recommendations

Recommendation 1

The Metropolitan Toronto Police Services Board should develop mechanisms to improve its effectiveness in overseeing implementation of its policies by the force. The Board should have the capacity to monitor compliance with its policies on an ongoing basis and to investigate specific matters where necessary as they arise. The Board shall report to the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services within six months on the decisions it has made to respond to this recommendation.

Recommendation 2

The Metropolitan Toronto Police Services Board should adopt a policy stating clearly and unequivocally the obligation of the Chief to report fully on cases involving alleged wrongdoing by members of the force if the integrity of the force or the public interest is affected. The policy should state the obligation of the Board to be so informed. In addition, the Board should require regular status reports on serious disciplinary matters.

Recommendation 3

The Metropolitan Toronto Police Services Board should adopt a policy recognizing its right and obligation to approve, reject or amend any employment-related agreements negotiated by the Chief of Police, acting as an agent of the Board.

Recommendation 4

The Metropolitan Toronto Police Services Board should adopt a policy stating explicitly that where there is evidence that could constitute a basis for disciplinary charges under the Police Services Act against a member of the force, charges shall be laid forthwith. Except in exceptional circumstances, there shall be no discussions between prosecution and defence counsel about plea or other matters, such as the officer's resignation, until after charges are laid.

Recommendation 5

The Metropolitan Toronto Police Services Board should issue guidelines to the effect that except in exceptional circumstances, a hearing into Police Services Act charges should be held within 60 days of the completion of an investigation.

Recommendation 6

The Metropolitan Toronto Police Services Board should reconsider the necessity of the Professional Standards Review Committee on the basis of concerns that it will cause delays and diffuse accountability.

Recommendation 7

In cases where an officer resigns while allegations of wrongdoing against him or her are under investigation or disciplinary charges are not yet disposed of, the circumstances of the resignation should be recorded in the officer's personnel file and noted in any employment reference by the police force. All police forces should routinely obtain a waiver under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act from an officer or former officer seeking employment in order to check the individual's past employment record with another police force.

Recommendation 8

There should be a record kept of what Police Services Boards are told about individual cases of alleged wrongdoing by officers of the force. Minutes should be kept of the information provided in camera by the Chief to the Board on specific cases. These confidential minutes should be made available to counsel for the officer in the event of an appeal to the Board. If the impartiality of the Board is compromised by information provided on an individual case prior to an appeal, the appeal should be referred to the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services for a hearing.

Recommendation 9

The Metropolitan Toronto Police Services Board should review the "Bill of Rights for Police Officers" to ensure that all provisions of the Bill conform with the new Police Services Act. In particular, the Board should review provisions of the "Bill of Rights" which provide that:

  • no officer should be required to face disciplinary charges if he or she is acquitted of an offence in criminal court on the same matter; and

  • disciplinary charges based on allegations by citizens must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

Recommendation 10

Regulation 3.1.1 should be amended to reduce the discretion of police in determining what constitutes sufficient evidence and to reflect the intent that the results of all investigations into alleged criminality by police officers be subject to scrutiny by the Crown Attorney when a charge is not laid. The amended regulation should specify that where a decision is made not to proceed with criminal charges, a full and complete written brief on the case must be presented to the Regional Director of Crown Attorneys. The Attorney-General should require that the Crown provide its opinion in such cases in writing.

Recommendation 11

Evidence of any use of the police computer network (CPIC) by members of a police force for reasons other than the necessary performance of their duties should result in the laying of criminal and disciplinary charges. The Solicitor General of Ontario should consult with his federal counterpart about stepping up random audits by the RCMP to protect the confidentiality of CPIC.

Recommendation 12

Breaches of recognizance by a police officer should not be treated any differently than the same offence by a civilian.

Recommendation 13

The Chief of Police should clarify to the force that the power of arrest should only be used in strict accordance with the Criminal Code of Canada and that failure to do so will result in discipline.

Recommendation 14

Civilians who bring information to a police force about alleged wrongdoing by an officer should have the option to sign an acknowledgement saying that they do not wish their complaint to be sent to the Police Complaints Commissioner for monitoring. The acknowledgement must state clearly that the individual may go to the PCC at any time should the person be dissatisfied with the conduct of the investigation. The force must notify the PCC of the file number, without name or particulars.

Recommendation 15

The Metropolitan Toronto Police Force should develop mechanisms to ensure the optimum flow of information to aid in internal investigations and to protect the confidentiality of sensitive case files.

Recommendation 16

The Chief of Police for Metropolitan Toronto should adopt a new standard of proof for the preliminary review of investigation reports of public complaints against police officers. The standard should require that the complaint review officer use the Criminal Code standard of reasonable and probable grounds in deciding to:
  • take no further action;
  • hold a disciplinary hearing;
  • order a hearing by a board of inquiry; or
  • cause criminal charges to be laid and refer the matter to the Crown Attorney for prosecution.

The complaint officer should have clear and convincing evidence to make a finding that an officer should be admonished. Corroboration of a complaint should not be required before further action can be taken.

Recommendation 17

The Attorney General of Ontario should appoint a task force to develop practical mechanisms and measures to support victims so as to encourage their cooperation in testifying against perpetrators of sexual crimes. The findings of the task force should help police to prosecute more sexual assaults successfully. The task force should not be limited to cases where the accused is a member of a police force, but it should give special consideration to that aspect of the issue.

Recommendation 18

Based on the work of the task force, all Police Services Boards in Ontario should develop strategies to support victims of sexual assault and encourage their cooperation in prosecutions. Special consideration should be given to support for victims in cases where the accused is a police officer. Once these strategies are in place, all Police Services Boards should develop policies committing their police forces to the vigorous prosecution of all sexual assaults.

Recommendation 19

The Metropolitan Toronto Police Services Board should adopt policies on the support for and involvement of complainants against police. Victims should be assured that they will be advised of the progress of disciplinary proceedings and will be able to participate. Victims should also be assured they will have the right to request anonymity and a closed hearing, at the discretion of the hearing officer, in cases involving sexual crimes.

Recommendation 20

The Attorney General should consult with his federal and provincial counterparts on the feasibility of protecting the identity of victims of sexual assault immediately on the laying of a charge.

Recommendation 21

To indicate its resolve to exercise its responsibility for the quality of policing in Metropolitan Toronto, the Police Services Board should review its policies and procedures to ensure that it is representing the expectations of the community, providing direction for effective management of the force, and fulfilling its function to direct and monitor the performance of the Chief. The Board should review the evidence presented during this Inquiry and take whatever action it considers to be necessary and appropriate.

Recommendation 22

The Metropolitan Toronto Police Services Board and the Chief of Police shall report to the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services within six months on actions taken in response to this report.

Recommendation 23

The Solicitor General of Ontario should implement an educational program for members of Police Services Boards across Ontario to ensure that they are apprised of their authority and responsibilities.

Recommendation 24

Police Services Boards across Ontario should review their policies and procedures to ensure that they comply with the spirit of the recommendations in this report that affect the manner in which Boards carry out their responsibilities.

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Created: January 21, 1997
Last modified: February 12, 1997

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