Strong arrests at the SPVQ: “significant” changes shortly at the GRIPP unit

The Quebec police chief promises “significant” changes by the summer concerning the mandate of the GRIPP unit, splashed by the broadcast of videos of controversial interventions last fall.

Denis Turcotte was at Quebec City Hall on Wednesday afternoon to answer questions from elected officials during a plenary session, requested by opposition leader Claude Villeneuve.

From the outset, the president of the municipal council warned the elected officials that this accountability exercise did not constitute a “commission of inquiry”, recalling that the ethics investigations and those of the Bureau of Independent Investigations (BEI) were always In progress.

Beyond the sanctions that could possibly be imposed on the officers involved in the muscular arrests, the head of the SPVQ is preparing a major revision of the mandate of the GRIPP unit (Police relations and intervention group with the population), which surveys bars and contributes to the fight against organized crime and prostitution.

“These are significant changes. It will certainly change in the execution but it will remain a unit dedicated to tackling specific issues in our city. I can’t tell you today what it’s going to look like because there’s a negotiation issue in that,” said Mr. Turcotte in a press scrum.

The Police Brotherhood will first have to be consulted since the collective agreement is in effect until the end of 2023. Mr. Turcotte is hopeful of finding common ground with the union and implementing the new model of here in the summer since the planned changes will be “positive”, he said.

Asked by Transition Quebec adviser, Jackie Smith, about racial profiling in Quebec, the head of the SPVQ indicated that he would not “tolerate that” and that such a situation would be “unacceptable” if he were put “in aware of that”, using the conditional. Taken aback by his response, Ms. Smith later criticized the chef for sticking his head in the sand.

“There are several testimonials that say it exists. This kind of willful blindness is really disappointing. It’s something pretty well known. To move forward and have a better police service, it starts with recognizing that there is a problem, ”she criticized.

“If there are cases like this that are submitted to us, of course I will have them investigated. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, I’m saying it’s not brought to my attention. It’s not the same thing,” defended Mr. Turcotte.

Mayor Bruno Marchand sided with the police chief. “I sense a police chief who is honest, well-meaning and who doesn’t feel like tolerating it. The demonstration is not made that there is. Do people not complain because they are afraid of not being heard? We have to go and check that (…) And if there is, things will be corrected, I am confident, ”he said.

One thing is certain, all elected officials agree on the need to document the phenomenon in the capital. Opposition Leader Claude Villeneuve also said he was “satisfied” with what he heard during the Committee of the Whole.

“The approach promoted by our police chief is to intervene with people who are committing offences, not to intervene with people because of their skin color. Its very important. Now, does it always happen like that on the pitch in practice? Investigations will tell us. »

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