Rash of suicides by people investigated for sex offences reviewed by B.C. police watchdog

The annual report from British Columbia’s police watchdog agency highlights several concerns about policing in the province, including suicides after arrest by RCMP and the lack of body cameras worn by officers.

The 2015-2016 report from the Independent Investigations Office also says some officers are failing to follow so-called duty-to-account guidelines, delaying writing reports about officer-involved shootings or in-custody deaths.

The IIO said it investigated allegations made against RCMP officers that they failed to take action to protect six people they arrested or questioned over sex-related offences who later killed themselves.

In five of the six cases, the report says investigators found insufficient evidence for a connection between police and the suicide, and in the last case there was no reason to believe officers committed any offence.

But the report says command staff at RCMP’s B.C. headquarters have responded to the IIO saying it will review officer training to identify someone who may be at risk of suicide when released from custody.

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The report also says IIO staff reviewed 71 investigations and found that footage from body-worn cameras would have potentially assisted in resolving 93 per cent of those cases.

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