Tuesday November 23, 2010
BC Civil Liberties Find Secret Police Audit
More transparency needed "Public confidence grows better in sunshine than in the dark"
Submitted by Janine Bandcroft, Victoria
he BCCLA has discovered that the province of B.C. completed a secret audit of the RCMP's performance under the controversial untendered 20-year policing contract signed in 1990. As the province prepares to sign on with the RCMP for another 20 years, the BCCLA is calling for the immediate disclosure of the audit and its results.
"The province was wise to do an audit, but we're not sure why they'd keep the fact that they did an audit, as well as the audit results, secret," said Robert Holmes, President of the BCCLA. "This is a multi-billion dollar, untendered contract. The secrecy around it is unacceptable.
"When the BCCLA asked for the audit results and any correspondence or reports based on the audit, the government demanded more than $700 before they would search for documents related to the audit. When the BCCLA asked for a fee waiver, the government then refused to release any documents other than the audit itself because release of those documents would cause "harm to law enforcement", contained "policy advice or recommendations", and would cause "harm to intergovernmental relations or negotiations".
The government says it is still considering releasing the audit results themselves to the BCCLA. "The Ministry of Finance has confirmed custody and control of the audit," says a letter from the Ministry of Citizens' Services to the BCCLA. The RCMP has also confirmed that the audit exists and that they are aware of it.
"Public confidence grows better in sunshine than in the dark. That applies to law enforcement as much as anything else. Billions are being spent on things like Olympic and other security measures," said Holmes. "Ensuring public confidence requires that officials and the police make available the information they hold before they ink a deal. The audit of RCMP services and performance ought to be released."
The BCCLA does not have any information about the scope of the audit, whether a copy of the audit results were ever provided to the RCMP, or what, if any, the RCMP's role was in the audit. The RCMP advises the BCCLA that any decisions about release will have to be made by the provincial government, as it is the government's document.
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