February 20, 2019 5:52 pm

London’s top cop says changes to Police Services Act are long overdue

Const. Hopkins (left) with London Police Chief John Pare and Scott Ruddle of London-Middlesex EMS at a June 2017 police board meeting.

Liny Lamberink/980 CFPL

London’s outgoing police chief says a major overhaul of the Police Services Act was long overdue.

READ MORE: London police Chief John Pare announces retirement

On Tuesday, the PC government announced its Comprehensive Ontario Police Service Act.

“I think it was necessary to meet some of the changing public safety needs across Ontario,” Chief John Pare told 980 CFPL.

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One of the major changes includes narrowing the scope of mandatory investigations carried out by the province’s police watchdog, a move Pare says brings the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) back to its original purpose.

“It was created, its focus and mandate was to address criminal offences and over time, that has expanded. You look at the delay in some of the investigations, on the efficiency of that. It wasn’t really doing much good for anyone including victims, the community, or police officers,” said Pare.

“Refocusing their mandate and the parameters around that, I think, will improve some of those outcomes.”

READ MORE: Ontario PC Party introduces legislation to replace Police Service Act

Pare also addressed concerns over the new 120-day timeline to complete investigations.

“The reality is that in many of these cases, you’re not looking for witnesses, you’re not looking for subjects, they’re already presented to you. I think the length of time needed to be addressed. The 120 days, there’s also, my understanding, that they can ask for extensions if necessary.”

The province is also proposing to merge two other oversight bodies into one that would field complaints from the public.

Pare notes, however, that he is still combing through the document and says he may have more to say once he’s reviewed it completely.

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