Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut October 24, 2012 - 4:01 pm

Nunavut MLA asks minister about independent policing council

“I think that this is an idea worth looking at in Nunavut”

SAMANTHA DAWSON

Amittuq MLA Louis Tapardjuk, in questions directed to Justice Minister Dan Shewchuk Oct. 23 in the Nunavut legislature, wants to know what new policing programs the Government of Nunavut will establish in communities.

Shewchuk recently met with other northern justice ministers in Whitehorse, Yukon.

There, after a man died in jail cells while in police custody, the Yukon government established an independent police council to provide a forum for residents to offer input into policing. 

“I think that this is an idea worth looking at in Nunavut,” Tapardjuk said.

There have been several disturbing incidents recent in Igloolik, including the death of a man last March in an armed confrontation with police, another firearms incident in August, and the death of a man in custody.

Tapardjuk questioned the involvement of the Ottawa Police Services in the investigation of the recent incidents in Igloolik. 

“Unfortunately, the residents of our community still have many concerns about this issue,” he said.

More work on the relationship between police and the community is needed, he added.

Shewchuk, who agreed that an independent police council is something Nunavut could look at, said what’s “unique about the North is that we need to have more community involvement in policing.”

There’s also been discussion on how to improve Nunavut’s court services and to reduce the time it takes for cases to go through the justice system, Shewchuk said.

An agreement between the Nunavut RCMP, the Government of Nunavut and the Ottawa Police Service to share resources when there’s a need for an outside investigation hasn’t been signed yet, Shewchuk said.

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