ST. JOHN'S, N.L. -- Newfoundland and Labrador's Justice Department says an independent watchdog agency from Nova Scotia is investigating a complaint related to the handling of an investigation by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.

The department says the Serious Incident Response Team was asked to investigate in November.

Ron MacDonald, director of the Halifax-based team, would not discuss the nature of the allegations, but said it's a matter that the Justice Department believes is "of significant public interest."

"At this point of the investigation we're not entirely sure exactly which members it does involve," said MacDonald in a phone interview on Thursday. "It's a matter of significance. It does involve allegations of potential criminal conduct."

A well-placed source who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to speak publicly says it was an RNC officer who complained to the justice department about the conduct of other officers, leading to the SIRT investigation.

In a statement, Justice Minister Andrew Parsons said he's unable to comment on the specifics of the allegations while the investigation is underway.

Parsons said once the results of the investigation are public, he will comment in more detail.

He said public confidence in the justice system is paramount to the government.

MacDonald said he will deliver a report to Parsons once the team's investigation is complete.

The Serious Incident Response Team investigates serious incidents that arise involving police in Nova Scotia.