Professional Standards

The OPS takes the investigation of complaints very seriously, fully understanding the impact that police conduct and policies can have on members of our community. We emphasize the value of providing courteous, respectful and effective service to Ottawa residents.

One of the ways we seek to earn public trust is by ensuring we have levels of oversight that hold our service and our members accountable. As delegated by the Chief of Police, our Professional Standards Section (PSS) has the authority to investigate and facilitate resolution of internally generated complaints (Chief’s complaints) and public complaints generated through the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD).

The PSS has taken an active role in resolving complaints through the use of mediation, facilitated discussions, educating involved parties, refresher training and policy reviews. This allows for a better dialogue between complainants, police officers and supervisors and promotes a quicker alternative to resolving issues that arise in the course of daily operations.

Complaints received, 2018-2019    

In total 442 Public and Chief’s complaints were received and/or generated in 2019.  This represents a 23 percent increase from 2018 (360) and is 16 percent higher than the five year average of 381.  In 2019, Chief’s complaints increased by 26 percent (18% higher than the five year average) and public complaints increased by 20 percent (15% higher than the five year average).

In 2019, OPS received 345,800 calls for service.  The total number of public complaints was 230 and this represents one complaint per 1,503 calls for service.

Of the 230 public complaints received by the Ottawa Police Service in 2019, 119 of these complaints were referred to PSS for investigation, compared to 116 referred to PSS in 2018.  Three complaints were retained by the OIPRD for investigation, compared to the six retained by the OIPRD in 2018.  There were 100 complaints received in 2019 that were dismissed by the OIPRD on the basis they were determined to be frivolous, vexatious, over the six months limitation, or warranted no further action as they were not in the best interest of the public to proceed, compared with 67 complaints dismissed by the OIPRD in 2018.  The remaining eight complaints received in 2019 were withdrawn by the public complainant prior to the complaint being screened by the OIPRD.    

By the end of 2019, there were no public conduct complaints that resulted in discipline, while one Chief’s complaint resulted in a disciplinary hearing and 58 resulted in informal discipline.   Of the 58 Chief Complaint’s that resulted in informal discipline, 45 were the result of red light camera infractions and nine were the result of service motor vehicle collisions.

Further information on all PSS activities and how to make a complaint can be accessed at www.ottawapolice.ca