Renewed call for new investigation system
Kevin Diakiw, reporter
Surrey North Delta Leader
Police investigating police has bothered Delta Police Chief Jim Cessford for at least a year.
The public, he says, has no appetite for it.
In 2010, he received a call from Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu, who asked him to investigate the case of Yao Wei Wu—a man who was roughed up in his home by police in a case of mistaken identity.
Cessford told Chu he'd help out with the investigation, but said the public won't be happy—no matter how the case turned out.
He was right.
The public was extremely upset with the Delta investigation, which found the two Vancouver police officers were "acting in the course of their duties in good faith."
Cessford said Wednesday there is case law backing his department's finding, but he understands the criticism.
At the Jan. 12 Delta Police Board meeting, the board renewed its call for an end to police departments leading such investigations.
"Police should not be investigating police," Cessford said. "It was very, very difficult during the Woo investigation, because the facts were very clear."
He pointed out there were several similar cases and case law that indicated the officers acted within their duties.
The public saw it differently, Cessford said.
"Here's the old boys' club, they're looking after each other," Cessford said in describing the public mood.
The RCMP, the Vancouver Police Department and the police in Nelson are also calling for independent investigators.
It's now up to the province to change the Police Act to allow a new system to take place.
Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts agrees with Cessford and said the RCMP have been working on the switch for some time.
"We're just waiting for the province to set up the system," Watts said. "It should be passed and it should be set up."