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RNC chief responds to CBC report on investigation of veteran officer

New Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Chief Joe Boland told The Telegram last week he doesn't think the organization is broken.
Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Chief Joe Boland. - Joe Gibbons

RNC Chief Joe Boland issued a statement to media today in response to a CBC story that stated a veteran RNC officer is under investigation for an alleged domestic dispute.

The CBC report notes that despite the RNC’s zero-tolerance policy in domestic dispute cases, the veteran officer was not arrested even though responding officers found a woman whose face had been bloodied.

In his statement, Boland said it is inappropriate for him to speak about the specifics of any ongoing RNC internal investigation.

“The RNC has an aggressive charge policy for intimate partner violence which is only applicable in circumstances where the investigating officer has reasonable grounds to believe an offence has occurred,” Boland stated.

“It is contrary to law and contrary to the RNC’s intimate partner violence policy to arrest or charge an individual for an alleged intimate partner violence offence when the investigating officer does not have reasonable grounds to believe a criminal offence has occurred.

“There are a number of factors which are taken into consideration by an investigating officer in formulating reasonable grounds to lay a charge/arrest a person. The presence of injuries to one or more individuals does not, in and of itself, mean sufficient evidence exists for an officer to formulate reasonable grounds to believe that a criminal offence has occurred. The investigating officer must look at all of the existing evidence, or lack of, in its totality, before determining whether he or she has reasonable grounds to believe an offence has occurred.”

The CBC report, by journalist Glenn Payette, also noted that neither the serious incident response team (SIRT) from Nova Scotia or Alberta have been contacted to do an investigation into this case.

The SIRT teams from those provinces have, in the past and currently, conducted other investigations into allegations against RNC members.

Boland said there is currently no requirement in law or in RNC policy that every incident that involves a criminal allegation against an RNC officer must be assigned to SIRT for investigation.

He also said he would welcome the establishment of a local SIRT team to deal with future cases instead of having to rely on SIRT teams from other provinces.

“As I have indicated previously, I welcome the introduction of SIRT in this province to conduct investigations of serious incidents involving police officers,” he stated.

“Once the SIRT is established and a SIRT director has been appointed, the director will determine which cases fit within SIRT’s mandate for investigation within the general categories set out in the legislation. Until the SIRT is established and a director of SIRT is appointed, I have, as chief of police, the responsibility to determine, on a case-by-case basis, who or what agency will conduct investigations of RNC officers.”

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