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News Release

SIU Director Invited to Venezuela to Speak About Civilian Oversight

Case Number: Venezuela

Mississauga (30 August, 2012) --- Ian Scott, the Director of Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit, will be in Venezuela next week to share his experiences with and knowledge of civilian oversight of police in Canada.

The annual National Conference of the General Council of Police will take place from September 6-8, 2012, in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, and will focus on community oversight of the police.  Civilian oversight of the police is only now being established under the ongoing process of police reform in Venezuela, and this conference will be an opportunity for those tasked with shaping the new system to hear from various international speakers on the experiences of their countries.

Director Scott, who is also the President of the Canadian Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, said “It’s an honour for me to be invited to speak about the Canadian experience with  civilian oversight of the police to Venezuelan police and justice officials. As well as talking  about  the importance of public confidence in police oversight,  I plan to discuss 
the two forms of civilian oversight in Ontario currently in place – the Special Investigations Unit and the Office of the Independent Police Review Director.  Ontario in particular and Canada in general is fortunate to be a world leader in the area of civilian oversight of the police.” 

The SIU is the first of its kind in Canada and, Ontario remains one of the few places worldwide that has an independent civilian agency with the power to both investigate and charge police officers with a criminal offence. Since its inception in 1990, the SIU has taken great strides and as such has become a model of civilian oversight for other jurisdictions amid an international movement toward greater civilian accountability of police.  

The Canadian Embassy in Venezuela is facilitating the Director’s participation in the conference to speak at the conference as well as organizing other events with Venezuelan civil society and academics working on the issue.  As part of the Government of Canada's efforts to strengthen relations with Venezuela as well as advance the rule of law, the Embassy in Caracas has been assisting the Government of Venezuela by providing expertise in modern, more community based approaches as the country continues its efforts to build a more professional and responsible national police force.

The SIU is an arm’s length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must

  • consider whether an officer has committed a criminal offence  in connection with the incident under investigation
  • depending on the evidence, lay a criminal charge against the officer if appropriate or close the file without any charges being laid
  • report the results of any investigations to the Attorney General. 

Monica Hudon, monica.hudon@ontario.ca
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342