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

Cowichan Valley food banks reopen on a limited basis

CMS handing out hampers, Basket Society doing hampers and sandwiches

Province restricts open burning in Cowichan Valley until April 15

Measure meant to assist fight against COVID-19

What you said: Shingles vaccine worthy of consideration

Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash

Kevin Timothy to plead guilty to animal cruelty charge

He will appear at the Duncan courthouse on March 24

Minister and Halalt First Nation chief consult on effects of recent flooding

Community heavily impacted with many damaged and uninhabitable homes

B.C. records first at-home death from COVID-19, but 70+ hospital patients have recovered

Total of 970 novel coronavirus cases in B.C., with the majority in the Lower Mainland area

List of cancelled Cowichan Valley community events

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

BC Ferries able to restrict travel for sick passengers

Ferries working on schedule shifts to keep workers safe

Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

Temporary free parking reduces need for keypads, contact

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Helping those at risk, one piece of paper at a time through ‘isolation communication’

Simple paper tool during pandemic making its way across Canada thanks to social media.

‘Back to school, in a virtual way’ for B.C. students in COVID-19 pandemic

Province adds online resources to help parents at home

Canadian COVID-19 round-up: Air Canada cuts 15,000 jobs, 90% of flights

Comprehensive Canadian news update as of 2:30 p.m., Monday, March 30.

Most Read