All members should be aware of the decision from the Supreme Court of Canada (Wood vs. Schaeffer., 2013 SCC 71) regarding access to counsel and note-taking of Officers involved in SIU investigations. They should also familiarize themselves with the SIU Protocol established by their Police Associations.
The Directors of each Association will be involved once there is an SIU incident. Association Directors will assess the members involved in the incident. The health and well-being of all involved members will take priority prior to the completion of notes. The notes of all subject officer should be sealed in a separate envelope and not provided to SIU.
Officers involved in an SIU incident, whether as a witness or subject officer, must complete their notes prior to consulting with legal counsel. They should not discuss the incident with the other members involved in the incident, and they will be ‘segregated’, not isolated. Officers involved should NOT provide any statement to anyone other than counsel following the completion of their notes; this includes any members from Professional Standards.
The notes should be an accurate, detailed, comprehensive account of the incident. Counsel will be assigned immediately; once notes are completed officers may then speak with assigned counsel for an explanation of the process and their legal rights. Members need to ensure that they communicate with the assigned counsel in order to provide proper contact information and schedule follow up meetings with them.
Any practice by the Liaison officers within your respective Service to speak to Witness and/or Subject Officers absent representation, either by the Association or by counsel, is a breach of the Police Services Act, and will render the Liaison Officer a Witness Officer, thereby voiding their role to assist the SIU or the member. The role of the Liaison officer is to ensure the well-being of the officers involved, and assist the SIU with contact information for the involved members and their representatives. Period. Subject officers retain the right to remain silent, as this is a criminal investigation. Furthermore, the SIU determines who is designated as a Witness Officer and a Subject Officer. These designations may change, along with the jeopardy of the officer, and as such, no statements should be elicited from any of the involved members.
Involved officers should provide the preamble below should any members of PSS or Liaison Officers attempt to elicit a statement from them.
I, Cst/Sgt/SSgt. “X” have been involved in an incident for which the SIU may invoke their mandate. Pursuant to section 7(1) of Regulation 267/10 of the Police Services Act, I am invoking my right to consult with legal counsel or a representative of the Association. To protect the integrity of this investigation, and my rights pursuant to the Police Services Act, as well as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and upon the advice of my Association, I will not be providing any statement to PSS relating to this incident, at this time.