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Formal complaints against police up in 2011: watchdog

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The agency that acts as a watchdog over municipal police officers in Manitoba recorded an increase in formal complaints in 2011.

The Law Enforcement Review Agency (LERA) said it received 169 complaints that year compared with 140 in 2010.

In a report released this afternoon, LERA said the most common complaint continues to be the use by officers of unnecessary violence or excessive force, although it noted that there has been a significant drop in such complaints in the past several years.

The 169 formal abuse of authority complaints in 2011 included:

  • breaches of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
  • making an arrest without reasonable or probable grounds;
  • using unnecessary violence or excessive force;
  • using oppressive or abusive conduct or language;
  • being discourteous or uncivil;
  • discrimination;
  • making false statement;
  • improperly disclosing information;
  • damaging property or failing to report damage; and
  • failing to provide assistance.

Complaints can be concluded by referral to a provincial judge for a hearing; admission of a disciplinary default by an officer; or resolution through an informal mediation process. Of the 260 files opened in 2011, 91 were resolved at intake or following preliminary enquiries.

Four complaints were resolved through mediation, with others being closed as there was insufficient evidence to justify referral to a hearing, some were considered frivolous or vexatious, and others were abandoned by the complainant.

The complete report and other information about LERA are posted on the agency's website

 

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