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Ombudsman to investigate Ontario direction to police on de-escalation

Date: 2013-08-08

TORONTO (August 8, 2013) – Ontario Ombudsman André Marin today announced he will conduct a systemic investigation into the direction provided to police by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services for de-escalating conflict situations.


Video of the press conference:
 


After completing a case assessment in the wake of the recent Toronto police shooting of Sammy Yatim, the Ombudsman has notified the Ministry that he is launching a formal investigation. It will be conducted by the Special Ombudsman Response Team (SORT) and completed within the next 6-12 months.

The investigation will not affect the ongoing probe by the Special Investigations Unit, Mr. Marin noted. “Our investigation will look at the Ontario government’s role. The Ministry can set standards for police training or procedures across the province, for example, as was done in B.C. after the police-involved death of Robert Dziekanski,” he said. “There have also been recommendations from inquests into similar deaths over the past two decades. What has been done? What should be done? We’ll focus on that.”

The Ombudsman is asking anyone who has information relevant to the investigation to contact his office at 1-800-263-1830, file an online complaint at www.ombudsman.on.ca or email info@ombudsman.on.ca.

As well, he is encouraging police services from across the province to co-operate with his investigation by sharing information about their relevant procedures. “I’m pleased to say that the head of the Toronto Police Services Board told me yesterday that he welcomed our investigation, and I hope others will take this view as well,” Mr. Marin said.

Since 2005, SORT has conducted some 30 major systemic investigations into issues affecting large numbers of Ontarians. The Ombudsman’s recommendations stemming from these cases have been overwhelmingly accepted. He recently conducted two major investigations involving this same ministry, prompting improvements to how the Ontario Provincial Police deals with operational stress injuries and how excessive use of force by correctional officers against provincial inmates is handled.

Aussi disponible en français

Webcast/video of Ombudsman’s press conference available at www.ombudsman.on.ca

For further information, please contact:

Linda Williamson, Director of Communications, 416-586-3426

lwilliamson@ombudsman.on.ca