OPP releases report on police preparedness for responding to aboriginal critical incidents

ORILLIA—The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has released the annual report on its Framework for Police Preparedness for Aboriginal Critical Incidents for 2016.

Entrenched as an OPP critical policy since 2005, the ‘Framework’ guides the police response to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous issue-related conflicts. The release of this report is in keeping with the recommendations in the Report of The Ipperwash Inquiry (2007).

The Framework: promotes an operationally sound, informed and flexible approach to resolving conflict and managing crises in a consistent manner; demonstrates accommodation and mutual respect of differences, positions and interests of involved Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and the OPP; and promotes and develops strategies that minimize the use of force to the fullest extent possible.

The OPP Framework relies heavily on dialogue, communication and relationships with the clear objective to preserve the peace, prevent offences, and enforce the law in a neutral manner that respects and protects the rights of all involved parties.

The Report of the Ipperwash Inquiry (2007) declared the Framework a “best practice” and recommended that the OPP prepare an annual report on its use and post it on the OPP website. The annual report provides examples of how the Framework has been applied and a statistical summary of implementation for the preceding year.

In 2016, the Framework approach was applied in 95 incidents, including critical incidents and major events and/or protest activity, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

To provide greater insight to the public, the Framework itself has been posted to the OPP website at https://www.opp.ca since 2016 accompanying the annual reports on its use.

“To contribute to the spirit of reconciliation, we welcome the people of Ontario and members of its Indigenous communities to read the Annual Report and the Framework itself,” said OPP Commissioner J.V.N. (Vince) Hawkes. “We hope it furthers open discussion on our rationale while demonstrating another way the OPP supports community safety.”

“Members of the OPP have embraced the Framework and have put it into practice for more than ten years,” said Superintendent Paul MACKEY, commander, OPP Indigenous Policing Bureau. “The Framework continues to serve our organization very well and enhances our already positive dialogues and relationships with our various Indigenous community partners and leaders.”