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Nova Scotia’s police watchdog in conversation with New Brunswick on joint team

Click to play video 'New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in talks about sharing a police watchdog' New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in talks about sharing a police watchdog
WATCH: Nova Scotia’s serious incident response team is already called in to help with investigations in N.B. But this year, SiRT has been too busy assisting with two high profile police shooting. Callum Smith has more – Jul 24, 2020

Nova Scotia’s police watchdog has confirmed to Global News that they have had conversations with New Brunswick officials about the idea of a shared investigative team.

Currently, the Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) investigates officer-involved incidents involving death, serious injury, sexual assault and domestic violence in Nova Scotia.

But when similar incidents occur in New Brunswick, such as the fatal police shootings of Chantel Moore and Rodney Levi, an outside investigator is requested to investigate.

Read more: Report recommends creation of independent police watchdog in New Brunswick

In the deaths of Moore and Levi that outside investigator is Quebec’s Bureau des Enquêtes Indépendantes (BEI).

A New Brunswick Police Commission review that was presented in late 2019 recommended the province consider creating a watchdog, or a local team to work with SiRT.

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However, when SiRT investigates outside of the province it has no obligation or authority to make its report public. It’s a decision that is up to the local agency.

Click to play video 'Review underway to determine if New Brunswick should establish police watchdog team' Review underway to determine if New Brunswick should establish police watchdog team
Review underway to determine if New Brunswick should establish police watchdog team – Aug 12, 2019

Both New Brunswick’s premier and public safety minister said in early June that it might be better to not establish New Brunswick’s own independent team.

“I’m not sure that New Brunswick having its own (team) is the right answer,” said Public Safety Minister Carl Urqhart.

Higgs said that “independence” is heightened when other province’s watchdog agencies are called in to investigate.

Read more: Higgs maintains Ottawa should hold inquiry into anti-Indigenous racism within policing, justice systems

SiRT’s director Felix Cacchione told Global News that there’s been a discussion about how a shared entity could work, but that there has been no official proposal in terms of establishing a new entity.

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The Department of Public Safety said on Friday that they’re reviewing various options, including a regional agency serving multiple provinces.