New Brunswick, Nova Scotia reach agreement on police oversight for serious incidents08 February 2023
FREDERICTON (GNB) – The governments of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have finalized an agreement allowing Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) to provide police oversight for serious incidents involving police in both provinces.
“I am pleased with this agreement between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick,” said Public Safety Minister Kris Austin. “It is necessary to instil public confidence in policing. Residents want to know there are checks and balances to police powers, along with accountability. We acknowledge that police officers risk their lives every day they go to work, and that their professions are incredibly difficult. The agreement guarantees impartiality and fairness in any investigations involving a New Brunswick police officer.”
SiRT is an independent civilian-led agency with a mandate to investigate serious matters such as death, serious injury, domestic violence, sexual assault or other matters involving police that are deemed to be in the public interest.
An agreement in principle was announced in September 2021. Since then, the provincial governments have worked together to ensure the appropriate legislative and policy frameworks are in place.
“Citizens of both our provinces must have confidence that serious incidents involving police are thoroughly and independently investigated,” said Nova Scotia Attorney General and Justice Minister Brad Johns. “Expanding SiRT’s services enhances regional co-operation, promotes public safety and increases public confidence that investigations involving alleged police misconduct are done efficiently and professionally.”
New Brunswick and Nova Scotia will share the costs, resources and benefits of this collaboration. Other resources will be added, including a new bilingual office in New Brunswick, as well as a new assistant director, three investigators and one administrative professional who will all be based in New Brunswick. The Nova Scotia SiRT director remains responsible for the organization’s operations in both provinces and has sole authority to decide whether a charge is laid.
Investigations under the agreement will begin once the new premises are leased, new positions are filled and the New Brunswick investigators are trained.