Key recommendations from the Pickton inquiry
RCMP Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens, the Commanding Officer of the RCMP in British Columbia, reads a very brief statement in response to Commissioner Wally Oppal's inquiry report into serial killer Robert Pickton. (Darryl Dyck/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Tuesday, December 18, 2012 9:16AM EST
VANCOUVER - Commissioner Wally Oppal's final report into the failed investigations into Robert Pickton included 63 recommendations. Here are some of the key ones:
- Regional policing: The provincial government should commit to establishing a Greater Vancouver police force and an independent committee should be appointed to develop a proposed model and implementation plan for such a force.
- Support services: The province should provide the extra money needed to allow centres that provide emergency services for women in the sex trade to remain open 24 hours per day.
- The province should develop and implement an enhanced public transit system to provide safe travel between Northern communities, particularly along Highway 16.
- Apologies: While the Vancouver Police Department has been proactive in apologizing for its shortcomings in the investigation and the RCMP "has followed suit in a less fulsome manner." The commissioner said the provincial government should appoint two advisors, including one aboriginal elder, to advise on the form and content of public acknowledgment of the mistakes made.
- Compensation: The provincial government should establish a compensation fund for the children of the missing and murdered women and a healing fund for families of Pickton's victims.
- Policing changes: Equality audits should be conducted on police forces throughout the province with the aim of protecting marginalized and aboriginal women from violence.
- The province should fund more full-time, sex-trade liaison officer positions in the Vancouver area and consider re-establishing the Vancouver Police Native Liaison Society.
- Provincial authorities should create and maintain a provincial missing person website aimed at educating the public about the missing persons process
- Court changes: The province should develop a Crown Vulnerable Women Assault policy to provide guidance on the prosecution of crimes of violence against vulnerable women, including women engaged in the sex trade.
- The Crown should be required to evaluate the strength of a case based on an assumption that the judge will act impartially and according to the law. The recommendation follows Oppal's discusion of the decision by the Crown not to proceed with charges against Pickton in 1997 when he was charged with nearly killing a sex worker.
- The provincial government should fund law reform research projects on the effects of drug and alcohol abuse on memory and potential changes to evidence laws to better help vulnerable witnesses to take part in the court process.
The provincial government responded to the recommendations with an action plan that includes:
- The appointment of former B.C. lieutenant governor Stephen Point to chair an advisory committee on the safety and security of vulnerable women. The committee will provide guidance on the report's recommendations.
- The province will commit $750,000 to the WISH Drop-In Centre Society to expand the services it provides to vulnerable women's health, safety and well-being.
- The Ministry of Transportation is developing a consultation plan to address the recommendation for safer transportation between communities in Northern B.C., a recommendation made in a previous study of the so-called Highway of Tears.