The Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) was created in 2007 and began operations in October 2009. The OIPRD is responsible for handling all public complaints against the police in Ontario. Their mandate is separate from that of the Special Investigations Unit which investigates only incidents of serious bodily harm or death that have resulted from a criminal act by a police officer.
Members of the public who are not satisfied with the services provided by a Police Service or the conduct of an individual officer have the option of filing a complaint with the Police Service involved, another Police Service or directly to the OIPRD http://www.oiprd.on.ca/En/Pages/Home.aspx .
Upon receipt of a public complaint, the OIPRD has the following options:
- The complaint may be “screened out” and no further action taken*
- The complaint may be referred back to the involved Police Service for investigation
- Another Police Service may be directed to conduct the investigation
- The OIPRD may conduct their own investigation
* Complaints that are vexatious, made in bad faith, older than 6 months or not in the public interest may be screened out at the discretion of the OIPRD
Regardless, of who conducts the investigation, the OIPRD has the authority to review all findings and to direct a hearing under the Police Services Act if needed. Members of the public may appeal the findings of an investigation conducted by police, but decisions made by the OIPRD are final and not subject to review.
In 2014, the OIPRD received a total of thirteen public complaints filed against members of the City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service. Of those complaints, seven were screened out by the OIPRD as they were deemed to not warrant any investigation. Thorough investigations were conducted into the remaining six complaints that were screened in by the OIPRD. Four of the investigations were conducted by our police service and the remaining two investigations were conducted by the OIPRD. At the conclusion of the investigations conducted by our police service, two of the complaints were resolved informally after the complainants and the officer came to a mutual understanding. The remaining two complaints were “Substantiated”, meaning that minor misconduct had occurred. The minor misconduct was resolved with an apology and additional training.
Both complaints retained by the OIRPD for investigation were deemed to be “Unsubstantiated”.
Overall, the volume of public complaints against members of the City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service is relatively low and consistent year to year.