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Recommendations aim to improve investigations

Police officers who don't cooperate with investigations into their conduct should be punished for "discreditable conduct," according to a review of municipal police complaint procedures by a former B.C. judge.

Josiah Wood made 91 recommendations for improving internal police investigations and the operation of the B.C. Police Complaint Commissioner's office. They include making it mandatory for an outside police force to investigate all in-custody and police-related deaths.

Wood reviewed nearly 300 complaints and investigations into police conduct, and found that eight of them resulted in exoneration of police officers who should have been held responsible for their actions.

Wood recommended that the police complaint commissioner be allowed to investigate complaints at the same time as police internal investigations, and his powers should be increased to include the ability to provide advice or direction to a police department during an investigation.

B.C. Solicitor General John Les said he has asked his staff to come up with a plan to implement the recommendations.

The report covers only municipal police departments. RCMP detachments, which provide policing to about 70 per cent of the province, are regulated by federal authorities.

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