The province’s independent Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) released its first investigative summary report today, June 22. The report deals with an incident on April 21 during an arrest by two Halifax Regional Police officers. During the arrest, a 61-year-old woman’s arm was broken. The report concludes that the officers used reasonable force and criminal charges against them are not warranted. The report can be seen at gov.ns.ca/just/sirt.asp . At about 7:40 p.m., police were called to deal with the woman, who was obstructing traffic at the intersection of Federal and McAlpine avenues in Halifax. Witnesses said she appeared to be in an altered mental state. The woman resisted initial attempts by the officers, one male and one female, to have her leave the street. She then became aggressive and tried to bite the female officer. When the officers tried to protect themselves and arrest her, she resisted further by kicking at them. Her arm was unintentionally broken during a brief struggle to control her. At that point the police applied no further force and immediately called for medical help. The investigation included interviews with 16 witnesses and the injured woman. Information confirmed the woman had a history of violent and difficult behaviour when in an altered mental state. Ron MacDonald, SIRT’s independent director, concludes in the report that there are no reasonable grounds for charges against the officers. “The officers’ actions were consistent with their duty to use reasonable force to arrest the woman, and justified to protect themselves from her attempts to injure them,” said Mr. MacDonald. “The application of force was brief and used only for the purpose of controlling a very difficult person who had become violent and dangerous.” SIRT, which became operational on April 20, is responsible for investigating all serious incidents involving police in Nova Scotia, whether or not there is an allegation of wrongdoing. Investigations are under the direction and control of the independent civilian director. This was the agency’s first case. SIRT can independently launch an investigation or begin an investigation after a referral from a chief of police, the head of the RCMP in Nova Scotia or the Minister of Justice. It can also investigate after a public complaint. The Police Act requires the director to file a public report summarizing the results of the investigation within three months after it is finished. A copy of the summary is also to be provided to the Minister of Justice and the police agency involved.