News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

June 19, 2015

MANITOBA GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION UNIT BECOMES OPERATIONAL


Police Forces No Longer Investigate Serious Incidents Involving Officers: Minister Mackintosh

The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba (IIU) launches today, to fulfil its mandate of investigating serious matters involving police and providing an impartial service to Manitobans, Attorney General Gord Mackintosh announced today.

“The Independent Investigation Unit is an accountable and independent organization that will work on behalf of Manitobans,” said Minister Mackintosh.  “I am impressed by the calibre and experience of their investigators, as well as the specialized training being provided to them at the IIU.  The IIU’s mandate is the broadest in the country, with the most comprehensive model to deal with incidents involving police.”

IIU investigations will be mandatory when deaths or serious incidents causing injury occur involving on-duty or off-duty police officers.  The unit will also be able to take over any other police investigation it considers to be in the public interest.  The IIU will have jurisdiction over all police officers in Manitoba including First Nations, RCMP and municipal. 

The unit may also assign the IIU director, an IIU investigator or a civilian monitor to have oversight of a police investigation. Civilian monitors trained by the Manitoba Police Commission will provide additional oversight when the IIU is investigating fatalities and serious incidents.

Seven investigators have been hired at the IIU and they have received four weeks of extensive and specialized training.  They bring a broad range of investigative experience nationally and internationally including border policing, international criminal tribunals, major crimes investigation, Project DEVOTE, missing women investigations and working in northern, remote and Indigenous communities.

The unit is led by a civilian director, Zane Tessler, whose experience includes more than three decades of service as a Crown attorney and defence counsel.  A director of investigations and a team commander are also in place, with experience in professional standards and major crimes investigations.  In total, the IIU currently has 13 staff.

Minister Mackintosh said the work of the IIU will be complemented by assigning a prosecuting lawyer who has no connection to the police office from where the charges arose.  Depending on the particulars of the case, the matter will be assigned to independent counsel (either in Manitoba or outside of the province) or to a Crown attorney located in a different region of the province.  In both instances, it will be ensured the prosecuting lawyer does not have an association to the officer who is under investigation, any eyewitness officers and does not have recent or ongoing contact with that police office.

“This is consistent with the practice in other provinces and current prosecution policy and reduces the risk of delay, loss of prosecution expertise and added costs associated with sending all prosecutions out of province,” Minister Mackintosh said.   

The IIU will operate on a budget of about $2.5 million annually.  The effectiveness of the legislation will be reviewed in five years, the minister added.

For more information about the IIU, visit www.iiumanitoba.ca.

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