On Thursday, April 20, 2017, SiRT will mark its fifth anniversary of commencing operations in Nova Scotia. On April 20, 2012, SiRT began providing Nova Scotians with independent civilian oversight of all serious incidents involving police in Nova Scotia.
On that day, Director Ronald J. MacDonald, QC, was sworn in as SiRT’s first Director, along with two full time investigators, Keith Stothart and Terry Balleine. The Director and full time investigators were recently re-appointed by Order-in Council to second five year terms. Two other investigators, seconded from the RCMP and Halifax Regional Police, round out the investigative team.
SiRT’s mandate includes any serious incident that may have arisen from the actions of a police officer, whether or not there is any allegation of wrong doing. SiRT opened its first investigation the day after it began operation, and since that time has carried out 132 investigations. Twenty-four (24) of those have resulted in charges (one of which was against a civilian, for providing false information to SiRT). SiRT primarily receives referrals of cases from police agencies, but can also receives referrals from the public, and the Director is able to initiate an investigation on their own.
SiRT believes in practical transparency regarding its investigations. This includes public notification of all investigations except where to do so could negatively impact the investigation. At the conclusion of every investigation the Director releases a public report which outlines the relevant facts in the matter and the Director’s decision. Eachinvestigation is under the direction and control of the independent civilian director, who is solely responsible for decisions respecting the laying of any charge.
All members of SiRT look forward to continuing their work for the public of Nova Scotia in the upcoming years.
Source: Media Release