The 2017/2018 Annual Report released Tuesday by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner shows that Oak Bay had two substantiated allegations against officers, both cases being investigations ordered by the Oak Bay Police Department. (Oak Bay News file photo)

The 2017/2018 Annual Report released Tuesday by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner shows that Oak Bay had two substantiated allegations against officers, both cases being investigations ordered by the Oak Bay Police Department. (Oak Bay News file photo)

Vancouver Island police officer out after relationship with sex trade worker

Report by police watchdog shows Greater Victoria officers faced discipline for misconduct

A police complaint commissioner report, released Tuesday, gives insight into serious substantiated allegations of misconduct against police officers in Greater Victoria – ranging from using the services of sex trade workers, to corruption and deceit.

The Saanich Police Department had six of the eight substantiated allegations against municipal officers in Greater Victoria which were concluded between Apr. 1, 2017, and Mar. 31, 2018, according to the 2017/2018 Annual Report released by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC). The OPCC is a civilian, independent office of the legislature that oversees complaints and investigations involving municipal police in B.C.

The misconduct allegations include corrupt practice, deceit, discreditable conduct, improper disclosure, neglect of duty and improper use or care of a firearm.

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In one case, a Saanich officer faced 11 misconduct allegations related to an inappropriate relationship with a known sex trade worker, allegedly attempting to collect money on behalf of the sex worker via threats and coercion, including threats of criminal sanctions.

Following a report of a domestic assault, sexual assault and robbery of the sex worker on Jan. 2, 2015, the officer failed to conduct an adequate investigation and then filed a false or misleading investigative report and made false or misleading radio broadcasts related to the investigation.

The report also says the officer allegedly sent and received sexual text messages and images to and from the victim.

Multiple allegations of deceit stemmed from the misconduct investigation, due to the officer making misleading statements to the investigating officer and Crown Counsel, in addition to the claim that the sex worker was the first female the police officer had ever attempted to gather information from.

The police officer resigned during the Police Act investigation, which was suspended during the criminal investigation into the allegation. After reviewing the criminal investigation, Crown Counsel did not approve charges and the suspension of the Police Act proceedings was lifted.

The Discipline Authority found the officer’s conduct in relation to these allegations to be “inexcusable and put the public at risk, the public’s confidence in the Saanich police at risk, the reputation of the Saanich police at risk and, in their totality, were grounds for dismissal.”

Meanwhile, an Oak Bay police officer was dismissed after allegations of misconduct arose that involved using the services of a sex trade worker. The allegation was found to be substantiated and the police officer was dismissed with no appeal from the officer.

A second Saanich officer faced four misconduct allegations including corrupt practice, discreditable conduct and deceit for allegedly misappropriating money seized from a confidential informant on Jan. 24, 2015. The police officer is said to have threatened to reveal a confidential informant’s status to their criminal associates. The officer was dismissed and made no attempt to appeal.

A third Saanich officer faced misconduct allegations for leaving a loaded service firearm in a public washroom on May 23, 2017. The police officer readily admitted to it and accepted responsibility. The proposed discipline for the police officer was a verbal reprimand which the OPCC approved.

The Victoria Police Department and Central Saanich Police Service had no substantiated misconduct during that period, according to the annual report.

Investigations into allegations against police officers are done within the police department, however, an OPCC investigative analyst is assigned to the file and monitors the investigation to make sure it is conducted professionally and addresses the concerns raised.

When the investigation is done, a final report is sent to the Discipline Authority – usually the chief constable of the department – and to the OPCC to review the report. The OPCC has the power to reject it and direct further investigation if it deems it not thorough enough.

The Discipline Authority has 10 days to give his or her decision to the complainant, the subject officer and to the OPCC after receiving the report. The decision has to include whether the evidence appears to substantiate the allegation of misconduct and, if so, advise as to the proposed discipline.


 

keri.coles@blackpress.ca

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Oak Bay Police Department