SPVM reforms its ‘troubled’  internal affairs dept.

SPVM Inspector André Dufresne shares a moment with the media following last week’s public security commission hearing

Two years after the forged evidence scandal hobbled the SPVM’s (Service de la Police de la Ville de Montréal) already troubled Internal Affairs department, senior SPVM officers announced that they have already taken serious measures to rectify the egregious cover-up that did so much to damage the SPVM’s reputation.

“We’ve done a lot of work over the past two years,” said Inspector André Dufresne. “We were dealing with a crisis that included some very serious accusations... accusations that led to the resignation of the SPVM’s Chief of Police. But now we have new leadership, so it’s an opportunity to turn the page.”

During last Monday morning’s city hall meeting, the city’s Public Security Commission listened carefully as Internal Affairs Director Line Carbonneau described both procedure and protocols that were adopted in order to avoid any kind of repetition of what happened two years ago. Based upon what is now public evidence, the SPVM is still feeling the effects of the scandal that erupted when the media discovered how forged evidence was used against two senior-level officers to shut them up after they discovered further high-level corruption within the SPVM. Following an official inquiry into the “troubled” department, Commissioner Michel Bouchard went on to indicate how a number of previous investigations into assorted, and sometimes serious incidents (threats, beatings, corruption,) would be “somehow” compromised, and set aside because of a failure of due process.

While Dufresne stressed that the process “must be transparent,” the new system also depends upon the anonymity of both the accuser as well as the accused in order to protect due process. Cronyism will no longer be an issue as it was in the past because each and every accusation will be simultaneously dealt with by five different investigators who will make a collective decision as to how to proceed with any further investigation. If it’s a minor matter, it will be dealt with internally while major (ie: criminal) allegations will be immediately transferred to an independent police force (usually the SQ) that will consider the case on its own merits. As in any normal investigation, they will look into the situation, gather evidence and make the decision as to whether or not it should be sent to the Crown for further consideration and possible prosecution. Minor issues (deontology, code of conduct) will be dealt with internally in much the same way as they are within any big corporation.

“We had to take a fresh look at everything,” said Dufresne. “We had to make a lot of difficult decisions, but now there’s a big difference between the way we used to treat these issues, and the way we’re dealing with them today.”

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