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

Saanich Peninsula steps into post-pandemic phase

Pending partial re-opening of local schools signals new start

Craft vendors allowed to re-join Goldstream Farmers Market

Dr. Bonnie Henry lightens restrictions, approves non-food items to be sold

Three people sent to hospital following serious crash in View Royal

Incident involved a motorcycle and one vehicle on Sunday afternoon

Province recognizes three Greater Victoria residents for work to combat racism

The three residents were recognized during the Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Awards

Saanich high school student wins free educational trip through Europe

Beaverbrook Vimy Prize centers on First, Second World War history

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

Most Read