How To Initiate A Complaint Against The Edmonton Police Service or Private Security Guards 

This information is not legal advice, and we cannot guarantee it is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. See our disclaimer & terms of use.

 

**CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THIS INFORMATION IN A .PDF BOOKLET**

 Contents

Introduction

Before You Start

Starting A Complaint

The Investigation

After The Investigation

Appeals

Laying A Private Information

Security Guards 

Civil Suits

Referral Numbers

 

Introduction

This information only applies to complaints against the Edmonton Police Service. If the complaint is against the RCMP there is a different procedure that must be followed.

Before You Start

If you are thinking about launching a public complaint against the police, it is important to write down detailed notes of the incident as soon as possible after it happens. The complaint process often takes a long time to come to a resolution and detailed notes can help your memory when your testimony is necessary long after the incident. Be sure to provide all the circumstances of the incident, including who was involved, what happened, where the incident occurred and when (date and time) it took place. Any witnesses to the incident should also be contacted to provide detailed statements in writing. Witness statements should be taken individually, while the other witnesses are not present.

 

It is essential that all the information in the statement is true and as accurate as possible. It is illegal to make a false report to the police.

 

If there were any injuries as a result of the incident, you or the person who was injured should visit a doctor immediately after the incident. Clear pictures of any injuries should be taken as soon as possible. If the incident occurred outside of a night club, bar, or inside an establishment with closed circuit video recording, make the complaint immediately, point out that video evidence exists and request that it be saved.  

 

According to s. 43(11) of the Police Act, a complaint must be made within one year. This limitation period does not apply to any incident involving conduct that breached some law or regulation other than the Police Act, such as the Criminal Code of Canada.

 

 

^ TOP ^

Starting A Complaint

Some concerns about the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) may be resolved through the alternative dispute resolution process. To find out if your concern can be resolved this way contact the Professional Standards Branch of EPS at (780) 421-2676. If your concern can be addressed through the alternative dispute resolution process they may get information about the indicident from you and start the resolution process. If not they may have you start a written complaint. 

 

To begin the process of launching a public complaint against the police, the nature of the complaint must be outlined in writing, signed and addressed to the Chief of Police and delivered to any police station in the city of Edmonton or to the Police Commission Office. The complaint can also be faxed to either office. See below for the Address of the Chief of Police.

 

Chief of Police

Police Headquarters

9620-103A Ave.

Edmonton, AB T5H 0H7

 

Fax: 780-414-7511

 

The person making the complaint must provide their address, phone number, and email address (if available). The issues being complained about must be clearly outlined in the written complaint. Anything left out will not be investigated. The date, time location and a detailed description of the incident that lead to the complaint should all be included in the complaint. The police have discretion in laying charges and the Professional Standards Branch will not intervene in this process. So if you want another person to be charged with a criminal offence starting a complaint against the police will not force them to charge anyone, see the section on Laying a Private Information 

 

Legal assistance may be helpful in drafting a written complaint. Consider speaking with a lawyer when creating your written complaint.

 

A complaint for conduct prohibited by the Police Act must be submitted a maximum of 1 year from the date of the incident leading to the complaint. Complaints submitted after more than 1 year will be dismissed. This limitation period does not apply to any incident involving conduct that breached a law or regulation other than the Police Act, such as the Criminal Code of Canada. So if the complaint has claimed criminal misconduct the 1-year limitation does not apply.

 

^ TOP ^

 The Investigation

After submitting the complaint a detective will contact the complainant (you) within 30 days to conduct an in-person interview. It is important that the entire interview be recorded to maintain an independent record of what was said. If the detective refuses to allow the interview to be recorded, the complainant should not agree to the interview.  

 

Again, legal assistance may be helpful in the interview process and the complainant may have their legal advisor (lawyer or agent) present at the interview to address any issue that may come up.

 

After the interview with the complainant, the detective will ask the police officers involved in the incident to respond to the complaint. During the investigation process the Chief of Police has to report to the complainant every 45 days through a written letter with the status of the investigation.

 

 

^ TOP ^ 

After The Investigation

Once the investigation is complete, the complainant will receive letters with the outcome of the complaint.  

 

If any part of the investigation results in criminal charges being laid against a police officer, a letter will be sent outlining the criminal complaint. If criminal charges are laid, the investigation will come to an end and the criminal process will take over. If no criminal charges are laid or after the criminal process is over, the investigation continues to determine whether any violations of the Police Act have occurred. Once the investigation for violations of the Police Act is completed, a letter closing the complaint in relation to violations of the Police Act will be sent to the complainant.  

 

If violations are found, the Chief of Police may do one of two things.

He or she can both end the matter without a hearing and give an official warning to the officer, or 

He or she can order that a disciplinary hearing be held.  

 

^ TOP ^

Appeals

If the complaint results in a decision that the complainant does not agree with, it can be appealed to the Law Enforcement Review Board (LERB). If a disciplinary hearing has been ordered, no appeal to the LERB can be started until the hearing is over. An appeal must be brought to LERB within 30 days of a decision (or dismissal). 

 

The LERB is independent of any police service and aims to provide fair hearings. The members of the LERB can call witnesses and hear evidence under oath if asked to do so but the board can decide not to accept new evidence. The LERB hearing is similar to a courtroom trial. The complainant may have a lawyer present if they wish, although it is not required. The police service and the officer will always be represented by a lawyer at the LERB hearing. 

 

If the matter is appealed to the LERB, the complainant will receive a copy of the information that the Chief of Police had at the time he made the decision which is being appealed.

 

If the matter is appealed to the LERB, the complainant will receive a copy of the entire Internal Affairs file on his/her complaint before a LERB hearing is held.  If upon reviewing the file, the complainant changes his/her mind, the appeal can be abandoned.  A legal advisor may be of assistance when deciding to pursue or abandon an appeal to the LERB.

 

If the case was originally dismissed without a disciplinary hearing, the LERB can direct the Chief of Police to hold a disciplinary hearing, direct him to lay a charge, direct him to have the matter investigated again, confirm the decision or take any other action they consider appropriate. The Board cannot award damages, withdraw criminal charges laid by the police or set aside convictions. The whole appeal process normally takes around 6-12 months to complete but can take longer.   

 

If the complaint was with regard to some aspect of the Edmonton Police’s services or policies, the complaint would be made directly to the Chief of Police and the appeal would be to the Police Commission (instead of the LERB).

 

It is also possible to challenge a LERB or a Police Commission decision to the court but only in certain circumstances and there are strict time limitations. It is best to get legal assistance for this type of action.


^ TOP ^

Laying A Private Information

Another course of action that a complainant may take is laying a private Information. To lay a private Information the complainant must gather evidence that a criminal offence has occurred and present it before a judge or justice of the peace. After hearing the evidence presented by the complainant the judge or justice of the peace will decide if a summons should be issued for the accused. 

 

The Attorney General (the Crown), will review the information, and decide whether the crown will proceed with the prosecution and take over your private prosecution. The crown can decide to take over the private prosecution and can either proceed with or stay the charges. If there is insufficient information about 

 

Laying a private Information can also be done without launching a complaint.

 

^ TOP ^

Security Guards

The process for making a complaint against a security guard is set out in The Security Services and Investigators Act Part 4. 

 

Any accusations of criminal activity by security guards should be directed to the police. 

 

A complaint can be made in writing to the security guard’s employer within 90 days of an incident occurring. The complaint should include the details of the incident and the complainant’s contact information. The employer can determine whether the complaint merits investigation and must provide the complainant with a written reason if they decide not to investigate within 30 days. If the employer does investigate, they must within 90 days provide the complainant with a written record of the outcome of the investigation. 

 

If the complainant is not satisfied with the employer’s decision or the employer did not provide a decision, they can request in writing that the registrar review the decision or complaint. The request must be made within 30 days of receiving a notification of the employer’s decision. The request should be sent to:

 

Registrar, Security Services and Investigators Act

Solicitor General and Ministry of Public Security

10th Floor, 10365 - 97 Street

Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3W7

 

The request should indicate which points of the employer’s decision the complainant disagrees with and reasons why they believe the employer was incorrect. The registrar will then decide whether they will investigate, and must provide the complainant a written reason for their decision within 30 days. If the registrar does investigate they must provide the complainant with the result of the investigation in writing within 90 days. 

 

If the complainant is not satisfied with the decision of the registrar they can appeal again to the Director of Law enforcement. The request should be in writing and must be submitted within 30 days of receiving notice of the decision of the registrar. Requests should be directed to:   

 

Director of Law Enforcement

Solicitor General and Ministry of Public Security

10th Floor, 10365 - 97 Street

Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3W7

 

 

 

^ TOP ^

 

Civil Suits

If you have suffered damage as a result of the actions of a police officer or security guard you may have a civil claim. This means you may be able to sue the police officer that caused you damage (injury to you or your property). 


If a civil suit is being considered as a potential course of action, it is important to keep in mind that there is a two-year limitation period to launch any civil action.


You can initiate a civil suit with the help of a lawyer or by yourself. To initiate a civil claim you must get the appropriate forms either from the courthouse (visit the civil counter on either the queens bench or provincial court side of the courthouse), or from the Alberta Courts website https://albertacourts.ca. Whether you file your claim in the Alberta provincial court or in the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench will depend on the amount that you are suing for. 


To initiate a civil claim you will need to fill out the civil claim form and have the filing fee ready when the form is submitted. The filling fee will depend on the amount that the claim is for. The clerk can waive filing fees for people who are unable to pay, the form for waiving a filing fee is available at https://albertacourts.ca/docs/default-source/resolution-and-court-administration/fee-waiver-application.pdf?sfvrsn=4. You can also get this form from a court clerk. 


NOTE: complaints against the police can take some time to complete, so if you are considering a civil suit you may want to start the process while you are preparing your complaint to make sure you don’t miss the two year limitation period.

 

^ TOP ^

 

Referral Numbers

Edmonton Police Commission………………………………………………………………………………....780-414-7511

Suite 171, 10235 101 Street

Edmonton, AB T5J 3E9

Fax: 780-414-7511

E-Mail: info@edmontonpolicecommission.com

Website: www.edmontonpolicecommission.com

 

Edmonton Police Service - Chief of Police

Police Headquarters

9620 103A Ave

Edmonton, AB T5H 0H7

www.police.edmonton.ab.ca

 

Edmonton Police Service - Professional Standards Branch……………………………………………....780-421-2676     

www.police.edmonton.ab.ca/Pages/ContactUs/ComplimentsConcerns/concerns.asp

 

Lawyer Referral Service………………………………………………………………………………………1-800-661-1095

Referrals to up to 3 lawyers that may be able to help you (they will be able to speak to you for 30min for free and then will likely want to be hired and paid)

 

Student Legal Services………………………………………………………………………………………….780-492-2226

11011 88 Ave.

Edmonton, AB

Email: info@slsedmonton.com

www.slsedmonton.com

 

Edmonton Community Legal Centre............................................................................................................ 780-702-1725

www.eclc.ca

 

Provincial Court- Civil…………………………………………………………………………………………….780-422-2508

albertacourts.ca/provincial-court/civil-small-claims-court

 

Law Enforcement Review Board………………………………………………………………………………..780-422-9376

1502 City Centre Place

10025 102A Avenue

Edmonton, AB T5J 2Z2

Fax: 780-422-4782

E-mail: lerb@gov.ab.ca

www.solgps.alberta.ca/boards_commissions/Pages/default.aspx

 

 

 

^ TOP ^