Police conduct will now be reviewed as part of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
After the inquiry was pressured by families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls to look at police actions in such cases, a news release Thursday said staff have assembled a forensic team that is currently reviewing police files.
“The national inquiry can and will consider the conduct of policing services and policies across Canada in 14 federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions,” the news release said.
According to Bernée Bolton, director of communications, looking at police conduct is mandated in the inquiry’s terms of reference. However, as it stand now the document makes no mention of investigating police conduct explicitly, but does say the inquiry can report misconduct of any kind to “the appropriate authorities.”
“The work by the forensic team will provide a credible basis for findings of fact and recommendations so we can identify systemic causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls,” Bolton wrote in an email.
The inquiry is also gathering information about police conduct through its community hearings, expert panels and institutional hearings, she said.
Thursday’s announcement comes the same day the Assembly of First Nations discussed its position on the inquiry.
On Wednesday at the AFN gathering in Regina, two inquiry commissioners were heavily criticized for failing to build relationships with families.
The inquiry, which is charged with uncovering the underlying reasons behind the deaths and disappearances of Indigenous women and girls, has done a poor job communicating with families and updating the public about its work, many have said.
One of the advocates leading the charge is Hilda…