The Saskatchewan Government says they’ll be introducing a new civilian oversight board to review serious incidents involving police officers.
The province brought in The Police (Serious Incident Response Team) Amendment Act of 2021. The bill creates the SIRT board, which will be run by a Civilian Executive Director.
It will have the ability to investigate serious matters such as serious injury, sexual assault or death when they happen in police custody or are the result of a police officer’s actions. Other incidents may be investigated when SIRT’s Executive Director decides they are in the public interest.
Justice Minister and Attorney General Gordon Wyant says that this is part of a commitment to transparent oversight of these incidents, and also working as an enhancement seeks to increase public trust.
The amendment also seeks to make sure there’s 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 in coordinating with the family of the victim and advising investigators on community interactions.
The Executive Director will also have the ability to bring in community liaisons for any other matter. It’s expected that the SIRT program will be up and running by the Fall of this year, once the proper staffing and training are complete.