Province Introduces Civilian-Led and Independent Model for Police Oversight
Today, the province introduced The Police (Serious Incident Response Team) Amendment Act, 2021. This change implements a civilian-led independent Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) to investigate serious incidents involving police officers.
"The Government of Saskatchewan understands the importance of transparent oversight of serious policing incidents," Justice Minister and Attorney General Gordon Wyant said. "The proposed changes are the next step to enhancing police oversight and ensuring public trust."
Acting under a Civilian Executive Director, SIRT members will investigate all matters where a person has suffered a sexual assault, serious injury, or death while in the custody of the police or as a result of the actions of a police officer. Investigations may also be conducted in other incidents where the Executive Director believes it is in the public interest to do so.
The proposed amendments ensure the SIRT includes Indigenous representation by requiring an appointment of a First Nations or Métis community liaison if the victim is of First Nations or Métis ancestry. Appointed liaisons will assist the Executive Director and perform functions such as coordinating with the family of the victim and advising investigators on community interactions. The Executive Director will also have discretion to appoint a community liaison in all other matters.
The SIRT is expected to become operational in the fall of 2021, once staffing and training are completed.