From interfering with a man’s right to counsel, to lying about drunk driving, at least 16 Greater Victoria police officers were doled out disciplinary or corrective measures in the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner’s (OPCC) latest annual report.
The review compiled the total number of complaints, investigations and disciplinary measures between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020 against B.C. police officers. However, the actual acts that required disciplinary or corrective measures may have occurred prior to that time frame.
The Saanich Police Department had the highest number, with seven disciplinary measures.
In the most serious incident, in December 2017, officers interfered with a man’s right to counsel, made profane comments about him and provided a testimony to a judge that was noted as “careless, lacking reliability … and highly unprofessional.” Disciplinary measures included written and verbal reprimands and retraining.
All six other events were minor enough to only warrant advice to future conduct or verbal reprimands.
The Victoria Police Department was second to Saanich with six disciplinary measures doled out.
In one incident from June 2017, an off-duty VicPD officer was pulled over by a Sidney/North Saanich RCMP officer and failed two breath sample tests, despite denying having had anything to drink. The member was issued a 20-day suspension without pay for providing false or misleading information and was ultimately dismissed from the force.
In June 2019, a reserve constable was also dismissed for activating police car lights and siren to clear an intersection for their own leisure.
In another situtation in May 2019, a police officer was found to have 22 property exhibits in a desk, including cash, drugs and a laptop, all of which should have been processed according to regulations. The officer was given a written reprimand, re-training on exhibit seizure and management and 12 months of work under close supervision.
The three other incidents involved an officer using a police vehicle to trap a suspect against a building, an officer damaging a steel door after becoming upset in a work meeting, and an officer choosing not to attend a training conference but still submitting expense claims.
Members of the Oak Bay Police Department only received three disciplinary measures during the last annual report, with one of them standing out from the rest.
Within a few weeks in May and June 2018, a reserve constable was found drunkenly urinating on a building in downtown Victoria and passed out in front of a downtown Victoria nightclub. In the second incident, the officer was initially released but was later found again in a similar state and had to be transported to hospital. In both cases, the officer was given a written reprimand.
In the two other incidents, an officer failed to notify dispatch before pursuing a vehicle and an officer failed to report an alleged driving offence.
No substantial misconduct was reported at the Central Saanich Police Service during this time.
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