Most people don’t realize the government helped to create the Internal Affairs Bureau. However, it remains one of the most important parts of law enforcement today. The idea of I.A. from the government was to help ordinary citizens who believed they had genuine complaints about certain members of law enforcement the chance to seek justice. The goal was to also help ensure the police forces across the country were honest and following the letter of the law with no prejudices against any citizen.
What Is The Role Of Internal Affairs?
Internal Affairs police the police. In a sense Internal Affairs and their investigators are the people who take the complaints made against police officers and those in law enforcement and try to determine the truth. Both sides of the argument are heard and the investigators ultimately determine whether or not a police officer has a charge to answer. If the officers of Internal Affairs do not find any evidence to support a claim against the officer, the claim is dropped. However, if there is evidence to prove a claim then they will take action against the officer or officers involved.
What Action Will Internal Affairs Take?
There are several potential courses of action in which Internal Affairs can choose. Firstly, if the crime was relatively minor they will report to their Chief and recommend the officer involved to be demoted from their current position. This could potentially mean a detective is demoted and goes back to patrolling the streets. It will vary depending on the officer and the severity of the crime. For instance, should the crime in question involve murder, sexual misconduct or bribery the officer could be formally charged and stand trial for their crimes. The officer officially is suspended from active duty whilst defending themselves against the charges. Internal Affairs help the prosecutors build their case in which a judge will decide their fate. More details in our post here: http://internalaffairs.ca/what-happens-when-law-enforcements-break-the-law/
Approaching the Case
When Internal Affairs become involved within a case they do so with the knowledge they may have to bring charges to a fellow police officer. This is certainly not an easy role within law enforcement; the ‘rat squad’ as I.A. is commonly known amongst officers is often plagued with hardship. Few police officers want to see a colleague be charged with a crime and even if they know they have some guilt, it’s a difficult decision. Police officers are supposed to ensure the laws are followed and it does make it extremely tough to charge an officer with a crime. However, Internal Affairs has the duty to ensure fairness and that no officer abuses their position or apparent power to obtain illegal gains.
The Government Working With I.A.
Canada’s federal parliament was set up to ensure the country was governed fairly for all citizens. The police forces are employed and run by the government are supposed to oversee civilians to ensure law and order is upheld. Of course, there are times when people abuse their power. When this happens, the government then looks to Internal Affairs to oversee the police.