June 24th, 2024

LPS respond to Police Act amendments

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on December 20, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

In December an amendment to the Police Act was proposed after 34 years to improve public confidence, reduce barriers for Albertans and see complaints resolved more quickly.

The Police Amendment Act 2022 (Bill 6) was passed in the Legislature and received Royal Assent on Dec. 15.

Lethbridge Police Service Chief Shahin Mehdizadeh said Bill 6 will bring more opportunities to enhance transparency and the LPS is ready for it.

“We certainly welcome all the changes that are coming up to modernize the police service oversight and delivery in the province,” said Mehdizadeh.

Bill 6 will amend the Police Act to establish an independent agency to manage complaints against police, expand the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) mandate, foster greater collaboration between police and communities and encourage diversity and inclusion.

“The Bill will require police services to create a diversity and inclusion plan, which we all welcome, especially me because I’m very passionate about the EDI concept,” said Mehdizadeh.

Another key change to the Police Act is the requirement for police services to develop community safety plans and report annually on their progress.

Mehdizadeh said LPS does not have much to do when it comes to implementing those changes as they have been proactively working towards them.

“We are already doing a lot, but now we have to actually put them into motion and develop those documents,” said Mehdizadeh.

He said they have been very aggressive on that front for the last couple of years.

Mehdizadeh said he received an audit report from the province in 2021 from a compliance audit done on the LPS in 2020 and they were fully compliant.

“It basically stated that we have met every compliance, 152 out of 152 areas that were audited, and we’re in full compliance. In fact, we passed with flying colours,” said Mehdizadeh.

Mehdizadeh says constant internal audits conducted by the LPS to ensure continued compliance will make any additions from Bill 6 easier to adjust to.

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