IIO BC police shooting investigations almost quadruple over five year average

The IIO is investigating after a man was shot at the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment on May 12, 2023.

An RCMP officer shooting a civilian in Duncan on Friday is the most recent in an upward trend of police shootings in B.C., according to the chief civilian director of the Independent Investigations Office.

Ronald MacDonald, the chief civilian director, tells CHEK News over the past 12 to 13 months the number of police shootings has seen a three-and-a-half times increase.

“We’ve seen a significant rise in police shootings in British Columbia. On average, in the last five years, we had approximately seven officer-involved shootings per fiscal year or 12-month period, our fiscal year runs from April 1 to March 31,” MacDonald said.

“This immediate past fiscal year we had 26. And this is now I believe the fourth officer-involved shooting since April 1.”


“We’re not 100 per cent sure as to what is behind that. But obviously, it has, if nothing else, kept our investigators, who are already pressed because of our caseload, extremely busy and it has certainly slowed down our timelines quite significantly.”

MacDonald says earlier this year the IIO was in a “dire” situation, with only 19 investigators handling the investigations into police incidents across the country, when there are usually 30.

“Since that time government has approved new positions here which included nine new investigative positions which brings our frontline investigative staff to 35 of the authorized strength and we have been able to hire five more investigators,” MacDonald said.

“But we’re still short-staffed, but we’re in the process of hiring as many investigators as we can over the next several months.”

For investigations, MacDonald says the organization prioritizes collecting evidence while the scene is fresh, then the remainder of the investigation can take place awhile later depending on the caseload.

“We always front load our investigation to ensure that we’re able to get to the scene and gather all of the perishable evidence as much as it as we can early on. It’s subsequent to that where things slow down,” he said. “So we get the work done we need to off the top, and then the file has to fall into the queue with all the others and that’s where we tend to be delayed, doing interviews, follow-up interviews, analysis, etc.”

The IIO currently has between 60-65 open investigations.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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