The Unit

The SIU is a civilian law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction over municipal, regional and provincial police officers, as well as special constables employed by the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers with the Legislative Protective Service. Anyone the SIU is mandated to investigate is referred to as an ‘official’. The SIU Director may cause a criminal investigation to be conducted into any incident in which any of the following occurs, if the incident may have resulted from criminal conduct by an official:

  • The death of a person.
  • The serious injury of a person.
  • The discharge of a firearm at a person.
  • The sexual assault of a person, as reported by the person.

The Unit is independent of any police service and operates at arm’s length from the Ministry of the Attorney General.

In the course of its investigations, the Unit gathers and assesses evidence, and the Director of the SIU ultimately decides whether or not the evidence leads to the reasonable belief that a criminal offence has been committed. If the Director forms such a belief, she or he shall lay a criminal charge against the official(s), and that charge will then be prosecuted by the Crown Attorney. If the Director does not form such a belief, she or he cannot lay a criminal charge against the official(s).

The SIU was created in 1990 with a mission to nurture public confidence in policing by ensuring that the conduct of police officers, in cases falling under the SIU jurisdiction, is subject to rigorous and independent investigations. Decades later, and with an expanded mandate, the SIU remains steadfast in pursuing that same mission.