Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Ms. Johnson, I listened intently to your presentation. Thank you for that, and thank you for the passion that you showed.
It's quite easy to point a finger at a police officer and say that this is done wrong or that's not done right. However, a lot of the actions by a police officer, whether it's RCMP or city police officer or whatever, are actions that she or he follows in an investigation that are required for them to prove a case in court.
Now, I know she said that maybe they could take a 48-hour break or something like that if a person is upset. Try to explain that to a judge or a lawyer, or a defence lawyer. I would really argue a case against that. The police officer needs to get that evidence put together.
Your ideas are excellent, but the problem I see is whether the courts accept that in the terms of evidence. This is where the problem goes. The defence lawyer will try to chew up a statement. The police officer is trying to take a statement which is the best recollection at the time of that incident.
You may not know my background. I was a police officer for 35 years—all rural, aboriginal policing. Now, many times in 48 hours, a story will change. We are trying to find out about the actual circumstances so that we can do the investigation. Sometimes it is impassioned—I totally agree with you—and it's difficult.
I totally agree with you that many rural communities across Canada have recruits, non-experienced police officers. When a person gets experience, he is probably going to want to go to a larger centre. That's where the expertise is. I think what you're saying is that initial contact is not sometimes an expert investigator in sexual crime; he or she may be a fairly new police officer.
Do you think we also need to share some of the responsibilities with the court services, along with the police officers, so that we can get a kind of united front on how we can best handle these very intricate, very emotional investigations?