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Press Release

OIPRD to review OPP practices for obtaining voluntary DNA samples in police investigations

Canada NewsWire

TORONTO, March 3, 2014 /CNW/ - The Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) is conducting a review of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) practices for obtaining voluntary DNA samples from specific groups of people during criminal investigations.

"Allegations that dozens of migrant workers who were asked to submit to DNA tests for a criminal investigation did not match the description of the suspect except for their dark skin colour, raises the spectre of racial profiling and Charter rights issues. I am undertaking a systemic review that will not only investigate the immediate issues raised, but also dig deeper to explore underlying causes and broader practices to determine whether systemic failings have occurred."
- Gerry McNeilly, Independent Police Review Director

The review will examine public complaints filed, and review and analyze evidence collected from OPP investigations, including audio and video recordings, photographs, documents, interviews and forensic evidence. The review will examine OPP policies, procedures and practices, training material and instruction, along with relevant case law, reports, reviews, articles, documents, research, data and practices from other jurisdictions. The review will also consider submissions from stakeholders and the public. A final report summarizing the findings of the review and outlining recommendations for the overall improvement of police practices will be released to the public.

The Police Services Act gives the Independent Police Review Director the power to examine and review issues of a systemic nature that are the subject of or give rise to public complaints. It also allows the Director to make recommendations regarding these issues to Ontario's Solicitor General, Attorney General, the OPP Commissioner, chiefs of police, police services boards and other persons or organizations, in order to enhance public confidence and trust in police and policing.

OIPRD FACTS

  • The OIPRD receives, manages and oversees all public complaints against the police in Ontario. This includes Ontario's municipal and regional police services and the Ontario Provincial Police.
  • Read the Terms of Reference for the review.
  • Visit the OIPRD website to learn more about the public complaints system.


BACKGROUNDER

Terms of Reference for Review of OPP Practices for DNA Sampling

March 3, 2014

The Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) has established Terms of Reference for its systemic review of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) practices for voluntary DNA sampling.

A systemic review examines the systems - policies, procedures and practices - and the root causes that promote or perpetuate systemic issues within a police service. The purpose of a systemic review is not to assign individual fault, but to determine whether systemic failings have occurred and identify issues to be addressed in order to make recommendations to enhance public confidence in police and policing.

TERMS OF REFERENCE

The systemic review will examine the following:

  • OPP policies, procedures, standards and practices as they relate to obtaining voluntary DNA samples from specific groups of individuals during investigations
  • Processes used by the OPP to investigate cases that rely on DNA evidence, including sexual assaults
  • Supervision of the investigative process through the OPP command structure and direction given for processes
  • OPP policies, procedures and practices relating to racial profiling and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • Training provided to OPP officers regarding investigative policing standards, obtaining DNA samples on a voluntary basis, racial profiling and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • Case law, reports, reviews, articles and documents relating to gathering DNA samples, voluntary participation in that process, racial profiling in relation to DNA collection and privacy issues surrounding the voluntary provision of DNA
  • The level and type of police involvement with employers in relation to employee participation in police investigations, and specifically pertaining to employers of migrant workers

PROCESS

The Independent Police Review Director and appointed OIPRD investigators will conduct the investigations for the review. Under the Public Inquiries Act, the Director and appointed investigators have the power to summon witnesses and the ability to require the production of documents.

The OIPRD will examine public complaints filed and review and analyze evidence collected from OPP investigations, including audio and video recordings, photographs, documents, interviews and forensic evidence. The review will examine OPP policies, procedures and practices, training material and instruction. The review will also examine relevant case law, reports, reviews, articles, documents, research, data and practices from other jurisdictions.

The OIPRD invites written submissions from stakeholders and the public with expertise and interest in police practices for DNA sampling and racial profiling issues. Written submissions should include the name of the organization or person delivering the submission, along with reasons for the stakeholder's interest in the issues of the OIPRD's systemic review of OPP practices for DNA sampling. The deadline for receipt of submissions is April 18, 2014.

To request a summary of submission guidelines and a list of topics that the OIPRD has identified as central issues to be examined as part of the review, email the OIPRD at OIPRD@ontario.ca or write to:

Systemic Review of OPP DNA Sampling
Office of the Independent Police Review Director
655 Bay Street, 10th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 2T4

The OIPRD will prepare a final report summarizing the findings of the review and outlining recommendations and advice for the overall improvement of police practices. The report will be released to the public.

www.oiprd.on.ca
Disponible en français
 

SOURCE Office of the Independent Police Review Director

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