Four B.C. police officers were fired and dozens more reprimanded after 51 complaints were substantiated by the Office of the Police Complaints Commission in 2013.
The office, which oversees municipal police forces in B.C., says it opened 1,091 investigation files and closed 845, in its 2013 year-in-review report.
Among the complaints substantiated were corruption, abuse of authority, sexual misconduct and discreditable behaviour, as well as many minor complaints including improper note-taking, making improper comments, sending inappropriate emails, failing to wear a police uniform and failing to submit a police report.
A few police forces managed to have no substantiated complaints at all last year, including Port Moody, Oak Bay, Central Saanich, and the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit.
Crossing the line
Among the substantiated complaints:
- A New Westminster police officer was caught buying cocaine from a known drug dealer to whom he was already in debt, using the drug and failing to pay his bar tab. He was fired.
- In Vancouver, a police officer used the police database to conduct unauthorized searches while maintaining a personal relationship with someone whom he knew associated with criminals. The same officer was also found to have "used the services of a prostitute." He was also fired.
- A Vancouver officer drank while off-duty and got in his car "while his ability to do so was affected by alcohol." The OPCC report says he told another officer who pulled him over he was a police officer, in order to receive favourable treatment. He received a six-day suspension without pay.
- In Abbotsford, a female officer pulled over a car for failing to stop and forced the female motorist to the ground at gunpoint where she was handcuffed. The motorist was eventually released without charge, but given a traffic ticket for failing to provide a driver's licence. However, the police complaints commission found the officer had not provided the woman a reasonable opportunity to produce her licence. The officer was given a written reprimand and sent for retraining.
- In Victoria, an officer used his department's email address to send a photo of a naked male. He was suspended without pay for eight days.
- A New Westminster officer drove his car into a rock, sustaining minor damage. It was the officer's sixth motor vehicle accident in six years, four of which were his fault. The officer was sent for driver assessment and training.