B.C.'s police forces - including the RCMP - are now on board with a new independent oversight body.
The agencies have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) which is due to be up and running on Sept. 10, the organization's chief civilian director Richard Rosenthal said Monday.
The civllian-led body will conduct criminal investigations regarding police-related incidents that result in death or serious harm.
To avoid perception of bias, the chief civilian director cannot be a person who is a current or former member of a police force or RCMP.
IIO investigators, both civilians and former police officers, have been hired and are in training at the Justice Institute of B.C. and the Canadian Police College. The IIO has moved into a new facility in Surrey and is expected to have 60 full-time staff.
The organization was established under amendments to B.C.'s Police Act that came into force in July 2011.
"The creation of an independent process for police investigations has been a priority for the B.C. government.," said Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond.
"With the creation of the Independent Investigations Office and now the signing of this memorandum of understanding with police, British Columbians can have more confidence in the investigation process and we believe this will ultimately enhance public confidence in overall policing in our province."
The MOU addresses all aspects of investigations including notification to the IIO, scene security, designation of subject and witness officers and concurrent investigations.