The Organized Crime Agency of British Columbia (OCABC)
The Agency is an aggressive, professional, and respected team combating organized crime
The Organized Crime Agency of British Columbia (OCABC) was established as a Designated Policing and Law Enforcement Unit under the Police Act (B.C.) on March 11, 1999. Similar to the structure and authority of municipal police departments in British Columbia, OCABC is an independent policing agency. The specific mandate of OCABC is to facilitate the disruption and suppression of organized crime which impacts all British Columbians.
growing sophistication and diversity of organized crime
The Organized Crime Agency of BC (OCABC) was created in direct response to the recommendations of the report of the Organized Crime Independent Review Committee, chaired by Stephen Owen (“The Owen Report,” September 15, 1998). The Agency was incorporated as a Society in March 1999 under the BC Police Act to replace its forerunner, the Coordinated Law Enforcement Unit (CLEU). The Owen Report found CLEU to be “… not sufficiently equipped, mandated or able to cope with the growing sophistication and diversity of organized crime”.
OCABC became fully operational in February 2000, similar in structure and authority to other municipal police departments in British Columbia. As a designated Police Agency in the province of British Columbia, the Organized Crime Agency of BC has its own contingent of sworn law enforcement officers and civilian personnel, and is responsible for:
“Providing designated Policing and designated Law Enforcement to reduce and eliminate organized crime and other significant criminal activity in British Columbia”.
OCABC derives its powers from Section 4.1 (2) (c) and 18.1 (d) of the Police Act.
integration in policing
During Hon. Rich Coleman’s term as Solicitor General, the province increased its move toward more integration in policing as both a cost-saving measure by reducing duplication of efforts, and in order to solidify the Agency’s impact as an aggressive organized crime fighting unit.
In 2004, this restructuring aligned OCABC with its law enforcement partners into the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit – British Columbia (“CFSEU-BC”). It is under this agency name that organized crime projects are investigated and prosecuted.
CFSEU-BC integrated 14 law enforcement agencies, including OCABC and the RCMP, under one single command structure with oversight provided by a Chief Superintendent. The intent was to integrate the Organized Crime Agency of British Columbia, municipal police and the RCMP into one combined unit to coordinate the province’s response to the growing threat of organized crime and gang violence.
In addition to reporting to the RCMP’s E Division Criminal Operations officer, who is in charge of Investigative Services and Organized Crime for the RCMP in British Columbia, the Chief Officer of the CFSEU-BC reports to a Board of Governance which governs the Unit. As parties with a vested stakeholder interest in CFSEU-BC, the Board of Governance typically guides matters related to strategic direction. Members of the Board include RCMP, Provincial, and Municipal law enforcement representatives. While it does have its own policies and procedures, CFSEU-BC generally operates under the RCMP administrative policies and procedures, and adheres to these policies along with specific partner collective agreement policies in its day-to-day operations.
The Organized Crime Agency of BC (OCABC) is a unique and special organization of highly trained and specialized professionals providing key operational and administrative support. OCABC personnel are the foundation and core of CFSEU-BC. In addition to being subject matter experts in important investigational, technical and analytical disciplines, they provide continuity and structure to CFSEU-BC. OCABC employees are, for the most part, permanent employees not affected by departure due to other police agency’s rotational secondment models or promotion or transfer back to those agencies.
OCABC remains a designated police agency within the Province of British Columbia, and is a permanent member of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit-BC. All OCABC employees are fully seconded, integrated, and an integral part of CFSEU-BC and its ongoing success.