B.C.’s government is advertising for an outside auditor to examine how complaints about police and subsequent investigations are being handled.
It’s work B.C.’s Police Act requires on a regular basis and is done to ensure the public’s needs are being met. The last one was done by the provincial auditor general’s office but that agency’s schedule is full this year.
A request for proposals describes the task as an audit of randomly selected complaints to the provincial Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner as well investigations undertaken. A special committee of the Legislature appointed Feb. 21 oversees the audit work required under the Police Act.
The commissioner examines the work of municipal police forces in B.C. The audit’s goal is to ensure the commissioner’s office is meeting its goals to promote accountable policing, provide an efficient and effective police complaint process, ensure the complaint process is accessible to all and promote the development of alternative dispute resolution for handling complaints between members of the public and police.
The provincial Office of the Auditor General last did such an audit in 2012-13. As a result of that audit, the office said a more comprehensive, external examination might be appropriate in future.
Auditor General Carol Bellringer said her office had been approached to do the work. She said the commissioner’s office is not considered a high-risk organization and there was no room on her office’s work plans to add such work.
As such, the special committee opted to undertake an RFP process to find an external auditor.
“It wasn’t for any other reason than scheduling,” Bellringer said.
Reporter Jeremy Hainsworth can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org