Citizen's guide for filing complaints about the policies of, services provided, or the conduct of a police officer employed by the St. Thomas Police Service
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There are two types of complaints. They relate to:
The Chief of Police, or his designate, must determine how your complaint is to proceed and if your complaint concerns conduct, policies or services of the St. Thomas Police Service. The Chief may decide not to deal with the complaint:
The Police Services Act encourages an informal resolution of conduct complaints, at any time during the process, if the complaint meets the required criteria (and the incident was not of a serious nature) and both you and the police officer consent to the proposed resolution.
You may withdraw your complaint at any time in writing. However, the Chief of Police or the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) may continue to deal with your complaint if it is felt that the circumstances warrant further action.
If you are not satisfied with the decision of the Chief of Police or his designate, you may request that a review of the complaint by making a written request to the St. Thomas Police Services Board within thirty (30) days of having received notice of the decision.
Complaints about Conduct.
The Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) will decide who will investigate a conduct complaint. They may send it back to the originating service for investigation, to another police service for investigation, or investigate the complaint themselves. After the investigation is completed, the investigation will be forwarded to the Chief of Police or his designate and they may:
A complaint may be filed about the conduct of an off-duty officer, however, the officer shall not be found guilty of misconduct if there is no connection between the conduct and either the occupational requirements for a police officer or the reputation of the police service.
If the Chief of Police orders a disciplinary hearing, a prosecuting officer, or legal counsel or agent as designated by the Chief, is responsible for presenting the evidence. You will be informed about your participation at the hearing. The hearing is presided over by a Hearing Officer who is also designated by the Chief. The Hearing Officer considers the evidence and decides the outcome.
An officer found guilty of misconduct could face a range of penalties from reprimand to dismissal and could also be directed to undergo counseling, treatment or training.
A person making a complaint or the police officer named in a complaint may appeal to the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) within thirty (30) days of the decision of a disciplinary hearing if the officer's misconduct or unsatisfactory work performance was not established. If a complainant wishes to appeal a penalty imposed by the Hearing Officer, consent from the Ontario Civilian Police Commission is required.
The Chief of Police is accountable to the St. Thomas Police Services Board which reviews the administration of the complaints system. The Chief is also accountable to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) for the Service's handling of complaints.
Please note that complaints must be written, signed and cannot be accepted by email.
Do you have questions? Visit our frequently asked questions page – FAQ. You may also e-mail us a question or comment at OIPRD@ontario.ca. To assist us in serving you better, please indicate what your inquiry is about.
All complaints must be submitted on the OIPRD Complaints Form.