RTDNA Joins RTDNA Canada in Opposing RCMP Decision

RTDNA Joins RTDNA Canada in Opposing RCMP Decision

By Mike Cavender, RTDNA Executive Director The sudden decision by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the national police service in Canada, to stop releasing the names of people who are crime victims or die in accidents is a bad policy. RTDNA joins our Canadian colleagues at RTDNA Canada in opposing the RCMP decision. As

By Mike Cavender, RTDNA Executive Director

The sudden decision by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the national police service in Canada, to stop releasing the names of people who are crime victims or die in accidents is a bad policy. RTDNA joins our Canadian colleagues at RTDNA Canada in opposing the RCMP decision.

As RTDNA Canada President Ian Koenigsfest said in a news release, “We believe that the release of names of major crime and fatal accident victims is in the public interest and should not be unreasonably withheld.”

We agree. Police agencies are routinely relied upon to verify information, such as identities and without a credible source, reporting of these incidents run the risk of including erroneous information—especially in this era of social media and 24/7 news coverage platforms.

The RCMP says it is simply following Canada’s Privacy Act. But it has been mum on why it has just started enforcing this policy now. What’s more, according to RCMP spokesperson, Julie Gagnon, the policy can be disregarded by the agency, given the litany of exemptions in the Act. As she pointed out, “However, even when an exemption may apply, it is discretionary (on the part of the RCMP).”

In 1976, a similar proposal was considered by the London, Ontario police to stop naming victims and it was opposed then by the RTDNA. We believe RTDNA Canada is right in urging the RCMP to reconsider this latest decision and to resume providing this important information to the public.

See the article here .

 

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