A call to modernize police accountability: an evaluation of the law’s response to excess use of force by police in British Columbia




Pinette, Celia

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When a police officer exercises their statutory authority to use force against a member of society, and that force results in death, the public must have confidence that the police acted legitimately. The inquiry this thesis facilitates examines current police oversight law that purports to hold police accountable in circumstances of police-involved death in British Columbia. The research is motivated by two assertions: 1. The government’s response to reform the investigatory and legal processes for the determination of allegations of police-involved death is inadequate; the resulting police oversight regime is too complex, and fails to act in the public interest. 2. Oversight and law enforcement agencies limit access to the information required for families and the public to understand the circumstances of, and to fairly assess, alleged police-involved death. While this research does not anticipate a singular resolution to the complex and longstanding questions of police accountability in BC, it draws attention to an unresolved history of police un-accountability as a matter of public interest. Due to the complex nature of the legal framework, this research does not identify an exhaustive list of issues within policing law.



Police accountability, statutory authority, police-involved death