As members of the Office of Independent Police Review Director cross the province to local communities such as Erin, the OIPRD continues to investigate issues of a more national level.
In the week following a presentation made to Erin council, the Wellington Advertiser received notification of the continuing investigation of the OIPRD into what exactly happend at the G20 Summit in Toronto.
Late last month, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) released an update of the status of its review of systemic issues surrounding public complaints against police during the G20 Summit in Toronto.
“Events surrounding the G20 have had a profound impact on the citizens of Toronto and on public confidence in the police. My office is in the final stages of completing the G20 systemic review and producing a report that will provide an accurate overall picture of policing at the G20, as well as meaningful recommendations. ” said Gerry McNeilly, Independent Police Review Director
The review is gathering information to identify issues arising from policing during the G20.
Once common findings have been noted, the OIPRD will prepare a final report summarizing the findings of the review and outlining recommendations to improve policing of large-scale protests.
In June of 2010, the City of Toronto hosted a summit of international leaders from 20 nations across the world, commonly known as the G20.
The security preparations for the summit represented the largest police operation in Canadian history.
Almost 21,000 police officers and security personnel from across Canada were brought in to provide security for both the G20 and G8.
On July 22, 2010, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) announced it would be conducting a systemic review of the issues surrounding the G20.
At this point the OIPRD had received nearly 275 complaints relating to events during the G20.
To date the office has received a total of 357 G20 complaints.
The common themes in the complaints were allegations of unlawful searches, unlawful arrests, improper detention and issues related to the temporary holding facility (Prisoner Processing Centre) used to detain people arrested during the G20.
In addition to the information uncovered during the course of the investigations, the OIPRD is gathering disclosure from numerous police services across the province and Canada and conducting systemic interviews of both police and witnesses to provide a balanced and informed opinion on the events that transpired.
Systemic Review Process
The OIPRD retained 208 complaints stemming from the G20 and grouped those complaints by geographic location of the incident.
The geographic locations of incidents are:
– Queen’s Park and the University of Toronto
– Queen and Spadina
– Novotel and the Esplanade
– Allan Gardens
– Prisoner Processing Centre.
The information uncovered from the complaints has been used to inform the overall systemic review. Each complaint is still separate from the G20 systemic review and will be investigated and reported to the appropriate individuals.
As of the beginning of May, investigators had completed more than 450 interviews. Many interviews required travel and this added to scheduling difficulties and increased the time spent on the interviews. As civilians and officers were interviewed, the investigators uncovered information that led to further disclosure requests and more interviews.
Interviews for both conduct investigations and the systemic review have taken place throughout Ontario and outside the province.
Investigators and the Director have conducted interviews in Montreal, Ottawa, London, Barrie, Orillia, Hamilton, Durham, Peel, York Region and Toronto. In many instances the interviews required repeat travel to the locations.
In addition to the number of interviews required, the timing and amount of disclosure has caused issues for the G20 team. The OIPRD has thousands of pages of documents, hundreds of hours of video and thousands of images. The volume has often been overwhelming and timely to sort through and log.
The OIPRD will continue with the necessary interviews and will finalize reports into conduct investigations. The G20 team will continue to review the transcripts from interviews, disclosure from police and other interested parties, including complainants, and create an overall picture of the G20 from initial planning to the conclusion of the event.
Once the available information has been analyzed by the G20 team, issues will be identified in relation to the large-scale incidents: Queen’s Park and the University of Toronto arrests, Queen and Spadina, Allan Gardens, Prisoner Processing Centre, Novotel and the Esplanade. General recommendations and issues will also be identified in other policing areas such as planning and communications. Once common findings have been noted, recommendations will flow from those findings.
The intent of the report is to make meaningful recommendations that can be used by any police service during large protests.