POLITICS

Civilian body expands probe into police use-of-force with the mentally ill

04/20/2015 06:45 EDT | Updated 07/11/2015 02:59 EDT
TORONTO - The civilian body that reviews police behaviour in Ontario has significantly expanded its review of police use-of-force when dealing with people who live with mental health issues.

The Office of the Independent Police Review Director had been investigating Toronto police but says it will expand its review to include all police forces in the province.

Gerry McNeilly, the office's director, says it will examine past recommendations on policing those with mental health problems and training by police forces and colleges when dealing with those in distress.

McNeilly says the office will look at policies and procedures and how they are followed by police forces across Ontario.

The changes come more than a year after the OIPRD announced it would review Toronto police's use-of-force actions with those in distress and about 18 months after Sammy Yatim was shot and killed by police on a Toronto streetcar.

McNeilly says his office has already done a systemic review of the jury's recommendations from the coroner's inquest into the deaths of three mentally ill Toronto residents in 2013.

"The review will focus more intently on the extent to which recommendations made in the past have been implemented," McNeilly said Monday in a statement.

The OIPRD says it may release interim reports during its review, but will release the entire report to the public upon its conclusion. The OIPRD didn't say when it expects to conclude its review.

The office receives and reviews public complaints against police in Ontario and can make recommendations to several organizations, including police chiefs and police service boards.