Bureau des enquêtes indépendates
“BEI was created to remove all doubts as to the independence and impartiality of investigations into incidents involving the police.”

Role and Powers

Role and operation

The work of the supervisors and investigators begins when BEI takes charge of an independent investigation.

It is then up to the supervisor-coodinator to obtain relevant information from the police force involved to evaluate and deploy the number of investigators required, depending on the complexity of the event.  

In addition to planning the logistic of the investigative team, the suypervisor-coordinator will appeal to the support police force, for example to secure the scene of the event and to obtain the necessary specialized expertise (forensic services, collision reconstructionist...)

Then, it is up to the supervisor-investigator to assign a lead investigator to assume responsibility for the investigation. To ensure the independence and impartiality of BEI investigations, an investigator may not be assigned as lead investigator if an investigation involves a police force of which he/she was a member or employee.

The investigative team then goes to the scene and performs its investigation. The investigators interview the police and civilian witnesses involved  in the event. They identify and collect all available evidence.

BEI must also notify the family or loved ones of anyone who is seriously injured, is injured by a firearm, or dies during a police intervention or while being detained by a police force. The investigator assigned to the case is the contact person who will liaise with the designated family member throughout the investigation.

The lead investigator writes up an investigation report and submits it to the supervisor. The final report is sent to the Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales and to the Bureau du coroner if a death has occurred.

Criminal investigations

The Police Act requires police force directors to notify the BEI director of any allegations of a sexual offense committed by a police officer in the course of his or her duties. When such an allegation is referred to BEI or when the Minister of Public Security entrusts it with a criminal allegation of another nature, BEI conducts a criminal investigation, subject to the various normal rules that apply.

Investigators’ powers

Insigne des enquêteurs du Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes.

BEI investigators are peace officers under the Police Act  when acting for the purposes of their mission. As such, they have all the powers granted to police officers (including the powers set out in the Criminal Code) anywhere in Québec.

BEI investigators can therefore request for investigative purposes a general warrant to conduct a thorough examination of the crime scene and gather required samples, a search warrant, an order to produce medical records, an order to produce documents, etc.

Anyone who commits an act in the knowledge or expectation that it will hinder the work of BEI investigators or make it more difficult is obstructing the work of a peace officer and may be prosecuted under section 129 of the Criminal Code.

Since they have the powers of a peace officer, BEI investigators are subject to the Police Code of Ethics and the Regulation respecting the internal discipline of the members of the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes and must act accordingly in the performance of their duties.