What to do if your complaint is not taken seriously by the police, or they fail to act

In many jurisdictions the biggest problem in laying a complaint of hate is the police. Many refuse, for various reasons, to take incidents seriously. For this reason you may find it important to take note of the following considerations.

When making a complaint about hate crime(s) to a police department make sure you record the name of the officer(s) and badge number. Make sure you have a file number. If you encounter a problem at this stage, ask to speak with a supervisor and get their name. If you still encounter problems, or if the officer fails to follow-up your complaint you may want to file a complaint against the police officer and/or police department. This may sound like an insurmountable hurdle, but if the subjects of hate crime do not complain, nothing will change and will probably get worse. For verification purposes, e-mail stopracism the details of your complaint.

The following are links to the information you will need to make a complaint. (Help us by sending the URL for your local police department and the complaint procedure to stopracism.)

Quick Links


Complaints against the RCMP

"Anyone, including a non-citizen, who has a concern about the conduct of an RCMP member can make a complaint. You do not have to be directly involved in the incident; you can make a complaint on behalf of someone else, or as a witness to an incident. Anyone with concerns about the conduct of an RCMP member may call the CPC at 1-800-665-6878 and talk about these concerns with one of the CPC staff. After you contact the CPC, a member of the CPC staff will describe our role to you and help you decide whether you want to lodge a formal complaint or take advantage of other options that may be available to you such as alternate dispute resolution. Complaints can be made: By completing the online complaint form available on the CPC's website By telephone: From anywhere in Canada: 1-800-665-6878 TTY: 1-866-432-5837 By completing the printable version of the Complaint Form in PDF [54Kb] and sending it via: Fax: 604-501-4095 Or Mail: National Intake Office 7337 137 Street Suite 102 Surrey, British Columbia V3W 1A4"

Also see: Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP ''The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner provides impartial civilian oversight of complaints regarding municipal police [in B.C.]. We ensure thorough and competent investigations of police complaints and fair adjudication with respect to all parties. We facilitate quality policing and public trust in law enforcement and the complaint process."

Vancouver Police Department

Vancouver Police Department Professional Standards "The Professional Standards Section professionally investigates allegations of misconduct by members of the Vancouver Police Department."

Also see: Report on the B.C. Police Complaint Process

In British Columbia, you can file a complaint through small claims court for damages for a small charge which can be recovered if your case is successful (See pivot legal society).

Remember that you can complain about police inaction and improper behaviour. No your rights and there IS power in numbers. Often, just making sure that your complaint has been sent to organizations and groups that monitor police behaviour, can make a difference. Let us know your experience. We may not be able to contact you right away, but rest assured we do record all complaints. We are a non-profit and receive no government support. So, you might want to think about which groups get government funding and which groups actually do anti-racist and human rights work when you go to the polling station to vote in the next election. Support political parties that support you. They do exist. Many of us support the federal Liberal and NDP parties in Canada. Provincially, there is a great confusion over party names. We never have supported the BC Liberal Party.

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