New police chief has role, but public confidence on everyone: Parsons

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St. John's getting new drug treatment court in 2018

St. John's getting new drug treatment court in 2018

The next chief of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary needs to be a strong leader — but everyone in the justice system has a role to play to make sure the public has confidence in policing, according to Andrew Parsons.

The province's justice minister told reporters on Thursday the next chief of police will have to face the shaken trust in the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, but said the responsibility is shared.

"It's on the women and men that are doing this. They have a role to play here," said Parsons. "It's on myself. I have a role to play."

"We all have a role to play when it comes to ensuring public confidence, not just in policing but in the justice system."

Parsons met with Bill Janes on Wednesday, when he was informed the police chief intends to step down from his job in June.

The justice minister said he understands the move was in the works for a while — but admitted the past year has been a tough one for the RNC.

The acquittal of Const. Carl Doug Snelgrove on charges of sexual assault in February sparked protests in downtown St. John's.

That added to a slew of other incidents: five senior members of the force are also under investigation for it's use of a criminal informant, RNC Const. Joe Smyth is at the heart of the inquiry into the killing of 58-year-old Don Dunphy, and another review of the conduct of RNC Staff Sgt. Tim Buckle has been announced.

"Definitely that's a challenge," Parsons said when asked if the next chief would have to rebuild public trust.

"I mean it has been a tough year for the RNC, there's no doubt."

Strong leadership: Parsons

Janes told CBC News on Thursday that his plan to retire in June was pre-planned, and not a result of public scrutiny.

Janes said he has "ticked the last box" in a three-year plan he made when he became chief.

"He wanted whoever to come in to start the new vision for the RNC," Parsons said.

The constabulary's next chief will be picked by the province's Independent Appointments Commission.

Parsons wants a strong leader, and wants to see lots of candidates for the position.

"I'm looking forward to hopefully seeing a wide array of candidates put their names forward, both within and outside. I think we have to cast the net wide to ensure that we get the best possible person to lead this organization."