The Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) processes complaints against police in Ontario. Complaints can be submitted either through the OIPRD or at a police station that then forwards the complaint to the OIPRD.
Once the complaint is received, there is an option for early resolution between the complainant and the officer. If this is possible, the complaint is closed; if not, the complaint is screened in and investigated by the police service or by the OIPRD.
If the allegations are unsubstantiated, the complaint is immediately closed; however, if they are substantiated, the results of the investigation are sent to the chief regardless of severity. The OIPRD reviews the investigative report and decides whether the complaint has been substantiated and the degree of the harm done. If the misconduct is viewed as less severe, the chief decides on an informal punishment; if it is severe, the chief must put the accused through a disciplinary hearing and formal decision.
Disciplinary hearings are held by police services; the OIPRD does not manage disciplinary hearings, though OIPRD officers can be called in to testify. The hearing officer is tasked with deciding whether the accused’s professional misconduct has been proven. The hearing officer must also take multiple factors into account in deciding on the punishment, such as the officer’s previous disciplinary hearings, their history of work, and their ability to take responsibility and feel remorse for the misconduct.
The measures that can be taken to address the misconduct range from a stern caution, suspension, mandatory training or enrolment in a corrective educational program, or even dismissal.
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