In the wake of the tragic shooting death of Toronto teen Sammy Yatim, the Green Party of Ontario is calling for more robust civilian oversight of policing through the reform of the SIU (Special Investigations Unit).
“We have a two-tiered justice system in Ontario,” said Mark Daye, Toronto Centre Candidate for the GPO. “One for civilians and one for police. The Green Party supports the important work that the police provide, and we want to ensure proper oversight and accountability is in place to maintain public confidence in our police force.”
The SIU, created in 1990 is failing in its mandate to conduct independent investigations.
In its current form the SIU is made up of 54 investigators, 47 of whom are former police officers.
The GPO passed a policy resolution at its Annual General Meeting in June of 2013 calling for more police accountability and oversight. The policy resolution supports the call by the Ontario Ombudsman for the need for substantive reforms to the province’s system of civilian police oversight.
“The Liberal government has failed to act on the Ombudsman’s recommendations to reform the SIU,” says Daye. “This is irresponsible, and the Green Party will continue to push the government to implement reforms to the SIU.”
According to a recent Toronto Star article, only 16 convictions have resulted from more than 3,400 investigations conducted by the SIU, and only three of those convictions have led to jail time.
The Green Party of Ontario advocates a comprehensive approach to addressing issues of police accountability that acknowledges the social, cultural, and institutional factors that inform police conduct.