Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner in Vancouver, B.C. (OPCC photo)

Misconduct investigations spike by 65% across B.C.’s municipal police forces: report

Reports overall up 15 per cent while complaints made by public down seven per cent

The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner investigated 1,300 allegations of police misconduct across B.C. in mid-2018 to 2019, marking a 15-per-cent increase from the year prior.

Kinds of misconduct allegations investigated by the office included claims that officer’s improperly secured their firearms, excessive use of force on civilians and inappropriate comments made in the workplace, according to the office’s annual report released this week to the provincial government.

The report tracks complaints from the public and from within B.C.’s 12 municipal and two First Nation police detachments.

Roughly 400 investigations were based on reported injuries caused by police actions – a 36-per-cent increase over last year. A significant number of those involved police dog bites and use of force without a weapon.

A further 79 investigations stemmed from misconduct allegations – a 65-per-cent spike – with most of the cases prompted by a request from the officer’s own department.

Three officers were dismissed during the time period, including former Victoria police chief Frank Elsner.

Overall complaints from the public were down by seven per cent.

ALSO READ: B.C. cops, cleared of sex assault allegations in Cuba, to face disciplinary process

Police Complaint Commissioner Clayton Pecknold said in a statement that despite more allegations this year, misconduct remains a small fraction of the municipal police forces’ interactions with the public.

“Police officers are provided with extraordinary powers over citizens and our democratic principles demand that they be accountable for the use of those powers to an impartial body fully independent of governments and the police themselves,” he said.

Officers accused of misconduct can be reprimanded in various ways based on the severity of the incident, from being ordered to write apologies to suspended leaves up to dismissal.

The Vancouver Police Department received the most complaints from the public, roughly 250, as well as 33 investigations ordered by officials within the department. The commissioner recommended that the Vancouver Police Board review its policies on the use of force on suspects in custody, street checks and use of ceremonial holsters.

The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner is an independent body that oversees complaints and investigations involving municipal police in B.C. It does not oversee the RCMP.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

39 caught speeding through Cowichan school zones

On June 1, North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP conducted speed enforcement in several school zones

Lake Cowichan firefighters douse blaze at Mayo Road

Sahtlam called in for mutual aid in abandoned shop and motorhome

Caps send Luciano Wilson to Penticton Vees

Hometown hero led Cowichan in scoring last season

Considerations made to keep Crofton drive-by birthday celebrations going

Trucks will tone it down or not use horns at all to bring some joy to kids and older folks

$10,000 stolen bikes recovered after Maple Bay break-in

Police track high-end bikes to storage locker

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

List of cancelled Cowichan Valley community events

An ongoing list of events that have been cancelled in the Cowichan Valley due to COVID-19

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit arrived as whale broke free from prawn trap line

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

Most Read