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

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Water recovery team stands down search for missing man in Stellako River

Jason Bouchard was in a boat with a friend that overturned in the river May 16

COVID-19: PG Community Foundation to disperse community support funds

$197,630 in funding announced by the Prince George Community Foundation

CGL workforce will gradually increase to 650 workers by end of May

The pipeline company provided a project update on May 21.

With wildfire season approaching, here are some tips to be ‘FireSmart’ this year

Q & A with Lindsay King, FireSmart Educator for the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Most Read