What circumstances require IIU involvement?

The Police Services Act requires the IIU to be notified immediately, or as soon as practicable, in any case where an on-duty or off-duty police officer is alleged to be involved in a death, serious injury or contravention of a federal or provincial law.

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If an officer-related incident occurs, who notifies the IIU?

The police chief (or designated senior police officer) must notify the IIU by phoning the civilian director.

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How quickly must the IIU be notified?

When a police officer is at the scene of an incident where it appears that a death, serious injury or contravention of a prescribed provision of the Criminal Code may have resulted from the action of a police officer, the IIU is to be immediately notified.

When a police service is conducting an investigation into the conduct of a police officer and there is evidence that the officer may have caused the death or serious injury of a person, or contravened a prescribed provision of the Criminal Code, the police chief (or designate) must notify the IIU as soon as practicable.

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Must police officers cooperate with an IIU investigation?

Witness officers have a duty under the Independent Investigations Regulation 99/2015 of The Police Services Act, to submit to interviews with IIU investigators at the earliest opportunity. The IIU is also entitled to receive from the police service a copy of the witness officer’s notes.

Police officers who are deemed the “subject officer” are invited — but not compelled — to present themselves for an interview with the IIU. They do not have to submit their police notes to IIU. This is because an officer who becomes the focus of an investigation, and therefore faces potential criminal jeopardy, is granted the same rights as any citizen under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to protection from self-incrimination.

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What does the IIU investigate?

The IIU investigates on and off-duty police officer-related incidents in Manitoba involving death, serious injury or alleged contravention of Canada’s Criminal Code or other laws, as defined in Part 7 of The Police Services Act. The civilian director of the IIU reviews all investigations when concluded and determines the outcome of each matter.

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What is the difference between the IIU and Law Enforcement Review Agency (LERA)?

The IIU does not accept complaints directly from the public.

Manitoba’s "Law Enforcement Review Agency (LERA) handles citizen complaints about police conduct.

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When did the IIU open?

The IIU officially became operational June 18, 2015.

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How many investigators work for the IIU?

The investigative team presently consists of eight investigators, two team commanders and one director of investigations.

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What is the official status of an IIU investigator?

All investigators are peace officers with the powers, duties, privileges and protections of a peace officer under any enactment.

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Will the IIU investigate incidents outside the City of Winnipeg?

The IIU responds to all Manitoba incidents and travels province wide to conduct investigations and interview witnesses.

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When will IIU release information on a particular incident?

When the IIU launches an investigation, it will typically issue a news release after the relevant police agency issues its own release or statement.

Unless there is a specific reason to do so, the IIU will not issue statements or answer media questions related to ongoing investigations. That is, it will not issue any kind of progress report on its work. However, if there is a significant development—such as the death of an affected person or a need to call for witnesses—it may choose to issue a news release.

When an investigation is concluded, the civilian director will issue a news release.

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What information will the IIU release?

In determining what information to share, the IIU takes into account the need to maintain the integrity of the investigation, to protect witness confidentiality, and to guard personal privacy. Subject to those important constraints, it provides as much information as possible.

Once the IIU launches an investigation, it issues a news release to advise that its team has been deployed. At the conclusion of its work, it again issues a news release to make public the outcome of its investigation. All news releases can be viewed on this web site.

The IIU also communicates directly with the affected person, the families of the deceased and their representatives, police officers under investigation, and police witnesses. The objective is to establish realistic expectations of the investigation and help individuals deal with distress caused by the incident. Once the investigation is complete, an IIU investigator advises all parties of the civilian director's decision and, in some cases, the civilian director will meet personally with the affected parties to provide a debriefing.

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Who can see the civilian director’s final report?

The disclosure of the civilian director’s report may be limited to ensure impartiality of related investigations and proceedings such as parallel criminal investigations, fatality inquiries, disciplinary proceedings and civil litigation.

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Why does the IIU sometimes not release its final report at the end of the investigation?

The IIU will hold the publication of any final report if, as a result of the incident, the affected person has been charged with an offence and those charges are still before the courts. Once the charge is dealt with by the courts, the civilian director’s report is released.

The IIU will also withhold publication if the affected person has had a warrant issued for his or her arrest. When there is an outstanding warrant, the publication of the final report will be held for a maximum of 12 months. If the affected person is still at “warrant status” after that period of time, the report will be published. Rather than hold the report indefinitely, the IIU considers it to be in the public interest to release its report after this determined period.

When a charge is laid against an officer, it must also balance the public's right to know with the accused's right to a fair trial. A final report is not prepared if a charge is laid by the IIU. The investigative file is forwarded to Manitoba Prosecutions Service for the court proceedings.

While each case is considered on its own merits, and the timing of the release of final reports may vary slightly, this is the general rule the IIU follows on publication of final reports.

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What happens at the end of an IIU investigation?

If the civilian director determines that an officer has committed an offence, he may lay charges against the subject officer or refer the matter to Manitoba Prosecution Service for a Crown opinion as to whether the officer should be charged.

If the civilian director has determined that no charges are warranted, all parties involved are advised of that decision.

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Will the IIU release the name of a subject officer?

The release of this information is prohibited by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act before and after the case is closed. However, if a charge is laid, the name is released since an Information is filed with the court and becomes part of the public record.

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Will the IIU release names of affected persons?

In 2015 the civilian oversight agencies in Canada (IIU, IIO, SIRT, ASIRT and SIU) agreed upon a joint standard across Canada for the release of names of affected persons. An excerpt of that joint statement follows:

“Society is entitled to be fully informed when someone is killed by police, which is why we will continue to provide the media and public with a detailed account of our investigations. At the same time, we will continue to err on the side of compassion and human decency by empowering complainants and their families with the decision to release or not to release, while at the same time ensuring we are able to conduct effective investigations. We feel this is a reasonable compromise." (See Joint Statement in About IIU section for the full text)

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