An incident involving an off-duty officer of the Central Saanich Police Service is being investigated by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of B.C.
The precipitating event occurred on July 25 at approximately 11:30 a.m. when the off-duty officer witnessed an employee of a downtown business being assaulted by a female who, it was alleged by the employee, was trying to steal an item from the store. The off-duty officer stepped in to arrest the female suspect, and in the ensuing struggle, both the officer and the female suspect sustained injuries.
The IIO was notified and, as required by the police act, deployed investigators to determine what transpired during the event in question. That investigation is required whenever death or serious injury occurs as a result of a police action.
It is believed that there may have been several witnesses to the event, which occurred near Yates Street and Blanshard Avenue, and the IIO is asking that any potential witnesses contact them at 1-855-466-8477.
The IIO is a civilian oversight agency in B.C. responsible for investigating incidents involving on or off duty police officers that result in death or serious harm. Established in 2012, it was created by the Ministry of Justice in response to the Braidwood Inquiry to ensure the transparency and accountability of police.
The agency operates under the direction of a civilian director who cannot have ever served as a police officer, although about half of the IIO investigators are former police officers. With a staff of 52 members, the IIO office, located in Surrey, does not investigate complaints of misconduct, those cases remaining the responsibility of the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner.
As such, the current investigation is not related to a misconduct complaint, but rather into the incident itself and the physical injuries sustained as a result of the event.