SIU Outreach Coordinator Jasbir Dhillon. photo by Melanie Irwin.

SIU Reaching Out To The Public

Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is working to raise awareness about its unit and enhance its relationship with the public.

The civilian based arm’s length agency investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.

Outreach Coordinator Jasbir Dhillon enlightened Sarnia Rotary Club members by detailing their duties and mandate during Tuesday’s luncheon meeting at the Dante Club.

“One of the main objectives of the SIU communications and outreach branch is to dispel misconceptions and to speak with community groups and individuals and answer their questions,” says Dhillon. “When they think the SIU is a police force, we’re there in person to say we’re not and we can explain what it is that we do.”

The SIU investigated 327 incidents involving Ontario police in 2016, with roughly 5% resulting in charges.

“We have a number of cases in any given jurisdiction or city where it might be on the news, whether it’s TV or radio,” says Dhillon. “We want to ensure that when a community member hears the SIU — they have a reference point for what it is that we do. If there are issues within a community, or perceived issues of transparency or accountability, we want them to know that there is an organization in the province that looks at police accountability.”

Locally, Dhillon says there were five investigations involving Sarnia Police last year, which all related to custody injuries.

She say Lambton OPP officers were investigated twice — one time for injuries sustained while someone was in custody and the other case focused on vehicle related injuries.