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Professional Standards

Sgt. Ross Burt – Investigator

1975 Gottingen Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia  B3J 2H1

Phone: (902) 490-4127 

Fax:  (902) 490-5038

Email: hrpprofstand@halifax.ca


Our moto is:

INTEGRITY - IMPARTIALITY - THOROUGHNESS

Halifax Regional Police considers maintaining open lines of communication with the public a high priority. Professional Standards is responsible for timely and impartial investigation and resolution of complaints filed by the public or by police members.


Complimenting a Halifax Regional Police Officer

Professional Standards accepts compliments for officers. To compliment an officer you may either call, email or fax Professional Standards or send a letter to the address listed above.


Making a complaint against a Halifax Regional Police Officer

If you feel you have been treated improperly by a Halifax Regional Police officer, or if for any reason you feel an officer has not behaved properly, you can file a complaint.

Who can make a complaint?
Anyone who has concerns about the actions of a Halifax Regional Police officer, or the policies or service provided by Halifax Regional Police, may file a complaint. 

Will my complaint be taken seriously?
Yes. Once you have put your complaint in writing, the Chief of Police will appoint an officer to investigate the complaint.

Will my complaint kept confidential?
Complaints are considered confidential. However, if your complaint is referred to the Police Review Board, the hearing is open to the public, unless the Review Board orders otherwise.

How long do I have to file a complaint?
You must file your complaint within six months of the incident which gave rise to the complaint. Under no circumstances will your complaint be considered if it is not filed within six months of the incident.

Where do I file a complaint?
You may make your complaint against a Halifax Regional Police officer, including the Chief of Police, to any of the following:

The Police Complaints Commissioner receives a copy of every complaint, regardless of where it is filed.

How do I file a complaint?
It is recommended that you contact Professional Standards at which time the process will be explained and forms provided. Should you require any assistance, such as an interpreter, please advise Professional Standards so arrangements can be made.

What happens after I make complaint?
The officer appointed to investigate your complaint will contact you to discuss the matter. If you and the involved officer agree, the investigating officer will attempt to address the complaint through informal resolution. Informal resolution uses the process of mediation and usually involves a face-to-face meeting between all involved parties under the guidance of a neutral party. The complaint may then be withdrawn or may be resolved by other means mutually consented to by all parties.

If there is no informal resolution, the investigating officer will proceed with a formal investigation. This investigation must be completed within 60 days from the date the written complaint was filed. In exceptional circumstances the Police Complaints Commissioner may grant an extension of time to complete the investigation. You will receive a notice when the investigation has been completed.

What is the role of the Police Complaints Commissioner in formal investigations conducted by Halifax Regional Police?
The Commissioner ensures that time limitations provided within the Police Act have been and are adhered to, and may exercise his/her authority to extend the time to investigate complaints when additional time is requested by the authority.

Who decides the outcome of the case?
The Chief of Police or the HRM Board of Police Commissioners (if the complaint is against the Chief) will review the investigation and may decide to:

  • take no further action with respect to the complaint 
  • discipline the officer
  • You will be notified of the decision, as will the involved officer and the Police Complaints Commissioner.

After a decision has been made regarding your complaint

What can I do if I am not satisfied with the decision of the Chief or the HRM Board of Police Commissioners?
If you are not satisfied with a decision you should file a Notice of Review (Form 13) with the Police Complaints Commissioner within 30 days of receipt of the decision.

Once you file the Notice of Review, the Police Complaints Commissioner will attempt to mediate a resolution. Any resolution will require the consent of the involved officer and the complainant.
If there is no resolution, the Commissioner may conduct an independent investigation of the complaint. Following the completion of this investigation, the Commissioner will decide whether the complaint has merit and, if that is the case, the matter will be referred to the Police Review Board. If the complaint is not referred to the Police Review Board you will be notified that no further action will be taken with respect to your complaint.

What can I do if my complaint is not referred to the Police Review Board?
The Commissioner's decision is final. If you are unhappy with it, you should contact a lawyer.

What happens when my complaint is referred to the Police Review Board?
A panel of three members will conduct a public hearing into your complaint. You will be notified of the hearing date and you may be represented by a lawyer if you wish. If you are not represented by a lawyer, the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner will provide assistance in preparation of subpoenas for witnesses and hearing procedures.

Who sits on the Police Review Board?
Lay persons are appointed to the Police Review Board. The Police Review Board is chaired by a lawyer.

What can the Review Board do?
The Review Board may:

  • dismiss the matter or find the complaint valid and recommend to Halifax Regional Police what should be done
  • affirm or change any penalty which has been imposed or substitute a finding
  • award or fix costs where appropriate.

The Review Board cannot award compensation.

What if I am dissatisfied with the Review Board's decision?
The Review Board's decision is final. If you are unhappy with it, you should contact a lawyer.

Can the officer appeal?
The involved officer may appeal disciplinary action imposed by the Chief of Police.

Where can I get more information about filing a public complaint?
You may contact the office of the Police Complaints Commissioner at:

The Police Complaints Commissioner's Office
1550 Bedford Highway
Suite 720
PO Box 1573
Halifax, NS  B3J 2Y3

Phone: (902) 424-3246
Fax: (902) 424-1777

E-mail: polcom@gov.ns.ca