Quebec City police cut employment of controversial unit

Quebec police are reducing the mandate of a unit mired in controversy since the broadcast, a year ago, of videos showing violent arrests.

The GRIPP unit, responsible, in particular, for monitoring bars and reprimanding « incivility », will now only work in the summer, a period when the traffic in the capital leads to an increased number of overflows.

For the rest of the year, members of the unit will join the ranks of IRIS, a new component « that will work behind the scenes » to support investigations, to assist Correctional Service Canada in its supervision of people on parole and to track offenders at risk of recidivism.

The head of the Service de police de la Ville de Québec (SPVQ), Denis Turcotte, dispelled rumors that the police force had considered dismantling its Population Relations and Police Intervention Group (GRIPP) in following the numerous reports supporting his polemical methods.

The controversy had earned a tarnished reputation for the Quebec police department — and criminal charges for officer Jacob Picard. The latter, a former member of the GRIPP unit, must face justice for having deployed violence deemed disproportionate during various filmed interventions. On one occasion, he had forcefully thrown a fellow into a wall. At another, he had pushed a citizen against a car and asked him aggressively if he wanted to be « gassed ».

The management of the Quebec police had thought about the reorganization of the GRIPP unit before the emergence of the controversy. The events that occurred a year ago, however, acted as a “catalyst”, admits André Turcotte, deputy director of territorial surveillance for the SPVQ.

“We accelerated the process, but already there were issues in the mandates. Tasks had to be clarified because some agents [de l’unité GRIPP] had to both conduct investigations and manage incivilities. »

In addition, the police chief of the City of Quebec welcomed the government’s desire to appeal a recent judgment which prohibits random arrests.

“For us, in terms of road safety, this is a major issue,” says Denis Turcotte. It allows us to detect if someone behind the wheel is fit to drive. »

To see in video


Back to top button