HALIFAX: Patrick Curran has been appointed Nova Scotia’s new police complaints commissioner.

Mr. Curran has been appointed for a three-year term, effective Tuesday, Dec 1.

He recently served as interim director of the province’s Serious Incident Response Team and has 38 years of experience as a judge in Nova Scotia provincial court, including serving as chief judge of both the provincial and family courts. He has also taught in the criminology department at Saint Mary’s University.

The office of the police complaints commissioner is a civilian, independent office. It is responsible for overseeing and monitoring complaints and investigations involving municipal police in Nova Scotia, including complaints by the public who allege misconduct by police officers. The office also oversees investigations into internal disciplinary matters involving municipal police officers.

“I am pleased to welcome Mr. Curran into this important role,” said Mark Furey, Attorney General and Minister of Justice. “The police complaints commissioner is instrumental in ensuring the confidence of Nova Scotians in the municipal police who serve them – which is critical to effective policing and to maintaining positive police and citizen relations. I am certain that Mr. Curran’s oversight will serve Nova Scotians well.”

The appointment follows the retirement of Judith McPhee.

“I would like to thank Ms. McPhee for her leadership and conscientious oversight over the past four years. Her unparalleled dedication to fairness and objectivity were exemplary. Nova Scotians were fortunate to have the benefit of her skill and experience,” said Mr. Furey.

“I am very much looking forward to taking on this important role. The purpose of the complaints commissioner’s office is to enhance public confidence in our municipal police agencies through fair and effective civilian oversight of the complaint process. Throughout my professional life in the justice system, I have been reminded daily that fairness is the main yardstick by which the quality of the system is measured.”
– Patrick Curran

Quick Facts:
— the office of the police complaints commissioner received 177 complaints from the public in 2019
— effective Jan 15, 2021, the timeframe for citizens to file a complaint with the office of the police complaints commissioner will be extended from six months to 12 months. The police complaints commissioner will also have authority to extend the timeline beyond 12 months in certain circumstances
— in addition to providing oversight and monitoring of complaints and investigations, the office also provides support to the police review board, which hears reviews of public complaints and police officers’ appeals against disciplinary penalties or dismissals.