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

UPDATE: Regional District of Central Kootenay declares state of emergency, issues evacuation orders and alerts

The evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

‘I knew what he wanted’: Man recalls black bear chasing him up tree in Slocan Valley

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

No passenger flights at West Kootenay Regional Airport until at least September

This is the third time Air Canada has announced changes to flight operations out of the airport

Village of Nakusp looks to reduce water consumption

With sprinklers/hoses, residents could only water gardens for two hours on certain days under amended bylaw

Morning Start: 180 different bird species exist in Kootenay National Park

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Friday, May 29

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of the world of summer sports

In a typical year, there are plenty of summer sporting events and tournaments held across Canada

Join Kootenay family in virtual walk for Ronald McDonald House

“We always described it as our oasis in the middle of the desert,” Brigitte Ady shares.

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

Update: Deceased suspect in West Kootenay gas station stabbing only in town two weeks

Police say the 30-year-old suspect stabbed a Montrose gas station employee

Most Read