C/Supt. Dennis Daley, Acting Officer in Charge of Halifax District RCMP
Good afternoon. We’re here today to announce RCMP and HRP’s initial response to Mr. Murray Segal’s Independent Review of the Police and Prosecution Response to the Rehtaeh Parsons case.
We’ve only just received this report and haven’t had an opportunity to view it in great detail. As we hope everyone will appreciate, we need time to fully digest the report and determine our next steps. As of today, we have assembled a working group to review the report in detail and devise an action plan going forward.
In our initial review of the recommendations, we find Mr. Segal to be fair and balanced in his approach. He was clear in his report that the involved officers are professionals who were acting in good faith, with the best of intentions and the willingness to help Rehteah. He also noted some mistakes and shortcomings in this complex investigation and provided recommendations where police and others can improve. In terms of those mistakes and shortcomings directly related to police, we apologize and remain committed to addressing the issues and recommendations so that we continue to progress.
Over the past few years, we have reflected on this matter and felt it was necessary to make changes swiftly rather than waiting for the results of the independent review. To date, we’ve invested in training and made changes to staffing as well as investigative practices.
Chief Jean-Michel Blais, Halifax Regional Police
The changes include:
- Sexual assault investigators are no longer drawn upon to assist in serious crimes that don’t have a sexualized violence component; they remain dedicated to their case load.
- New sexual assault investigators receive training on how to investigate sex assaults and sex assaults involving children upon entering the unit.
- HRP and RCMP have select officers who have received intensive specialized training on the trauma-informed response to sexualized violence and, whenever possible, are dispatched to sexual offences.
- Victim Services is offering support to victims of sexualized violence wherever possible.
- In December 2014, RCMP began offering cybercrime training to police agencies across the province. Fifteen workshops have been held to date and these workshops are continuing.
- RCMP has implemented Hybrid Hub with 11 programs in the province and three in Halifax District (Lower Sackville, Cole Harbour and Tantallon). HRP is in discussions with the Province of Nova Scotia about Hybrid Hub and is also actively engaged in the Schools Plus program.
- A social media and cybercrime pilot is underway to assist with intelligence gathering and investigations.
In light of this incident and the independent review, we want to reassure our citizens that we are there for people in crisis, we care and we need victims to come forward so that we can investigate crime.
Rehtaeh’s death was a tragedy. We all need to reflect on how we can come together in Rehtaeh’s memory to intervene and take action to support our youth, particularly those in crisis. Our overall goal from this matter is to work with other agencies to ensure a collaborative approach to best serve our communities.
We’re committed to keeping our community updated on further progress made on the recommendations outlined in Mr. Segal’s report, including how all of the changes impact our broader organizations and our service delivery to our communities.