The Niagara Police Commission has updated when officers can be suspended without pay

The Niagara Regional Police Services Board has been advised of the date when chiefs of police across the province will be authorized to suspend members without pay.

In a letter received on Thursday’s board meeting agenda, Ontario Solicitor General Michael Kerzner wrote that this legislation, under the Community Safety and Policing Act , should be in place from the fall and no later than the beginning of 2024.

A draft regulation was posted on Ontario’s Regulatory Registry in April 2021 for public comment and comment.

The NRP sent an October 2022 letter to Kerzner from then-board chairman Bill Steele, who wrote that current legislation requires police chiefs to maintain discipline, but it does not give the power to suspend an officer without pay, even in situations where officers are charged with serious Criminal Code offenses unrelated to their duties, which he said the public was “generally unaware of”.

“In our view, this misconception gives the false impression that police chiefs are protecting their own, when in fact our hands are tied by legislation,” he wrote on behalf of the council.

Numerous resolutions have been passed by the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards and the 12 major police services boards in Ontario, including the Niagara police, calling on the province to make the necessary changes to policing. Law authorizing the suspension without pay of police officers in certain situations, Steele wrote.

In March 2019, the Ontario government passed the Community Safety and Policing Act as part of the Ontario Police Services Act.

Amended suspension without pay provisions have been incorporated into legislation. In 2021, the province sought public and stakeholder input on the proposed settlement, but it was never proclaimed in force, Steele wrote.

β€œAs board members, we hear from many people in our community that their tax dollars are not being used to pay the salaries and benefits of police officers who cannot practice. their duties because they are incarcerated or because they are out on bail pending the outcome of a serious charge or charges unrelated to their duties,” Steele said.

Steele said the PRN board believes changes to suspension without pay are needed to specifically address officers who are charged with serious criminal offenses unrelated to an officer’s duty.

β€œIn our view, there is simply no credible argument for continuing to pay officers charged with such serious offences, particularly when doing so seriously undermines public confidence in their police,” he said. declared.

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