Two Oak Bay police officers faced discipline – one resulting in a dismissal decision – after allegations of misconduct arose that involved using the services of sex trade workers and negligent discharge of a firearm, according to a police complaint commissioner annual report for 2017/2018.
There were 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 Tuesday by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) – a civilian, independent office of the legislature that oversees complaints and investigations involving municipal police in B.C.
The annual report shows that Oak Bay had two substantiated allegations against officers, both cases being investigations ordered by the Oak Bay Police Department.
The first involved a police officer, either on or off -duty, that was alleged to have used the services of a sex trade worker.
An investigation was launched after the Oak Bay Police Department received information on Dec. 7, 2016 that one of its officers may have used the services of a sex trade worker.
“Prior to the conclusion of the investigations the police officer retired. The Police Act jurisdiction over police officers remains post-employment, and a thorough investigation continued,” said Chief Constable Andy Brinton in a written statement responding to the police complaint commissioner report.
On Nov. 15, 2017 the Discipline Authority reviewed the completed investigation report and found the police officer had committed misconduct, specifically Discreditable Conduct under the Police Act. The sanction was dismissal.
Oak Bay police say there was insufficient evidence to support a criminal charge nor an indication the officer used the services of a sex trade worker while on duty.
The second case involved a negligent discharge of a firearm on Apr. 5, 2017, while an officer repeatedly disassembled a service revolver for practice purposes. On what was believed to be the fifth repetition, the police officer negligently discharged a bullet.
According to the report, there appeared to be a jammed casing in the firearm. The area was searched thoroughly but no bullet was found and no one was hurt as a result of the incident.
The police officer accepted full responsibility for his actions, advising that he would ensure he uses the unloading station in the future. The proposed discipline was advice to future conduct, which the OPCC approved.
The report shows that Saanich had six substantiated allegations against officers which were concluded between Apr. 1, 2017, and Mar. 31, 2018. 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.
Oak Bay had four files opened for misconduct complaints during the fiscal year, according to the report, with one deemed inadmissible, one an ordered investigation at the department’s request and two being monitored.
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