From snooping on spouses to downloading pornography, a number of RCMP members in Manitoba have been disciplined for abusing their time on duty and the resources available to them on the job.

RCMP documents obtained by CBC News reveal the disciplinary actions taken against 10 members of Manitoba's D Division between the beginning of 2010 and September 2012.

The documents outline cases of members using police databases to keep tabs on girlfriends and ex-wives, using RCMP computers to download pornography, and providing civilians with the results of licence plate searches.

The sanctions handed out range from a formal reprimand to a reprimand and the loss of 10 days' pay, although some of the decisions noted that the members could have faced dismissal from the RCMP.

Transgressions taken seriously

When asked about the discipline files, Supt.  Stephen Thatcher, director general of the RCMP's Adjudication Directorate Services Branch, said these kinds of transgressions are rare but the police force takes them seriously.

"It takes away from the work done by dedicated members across the country," he said.

"The bottom line is to get the members back into the confidence of the [RCMP] and the public."

Of the 11 files given to CBC News, some of the most serious instances involve breaches of civilian privacy, often for personal reasons.

Brian Bowman, a partner with Pitblado Law in Winnipeg, said while he is impressed with the RCMP's openness in releasing the documents publicly, he does find the violations concerning.

"There's a trust factor that is commensurate with with the sensitivity of the information," he said.

"For that reason alone, I would expect they're being taken very seriously."

Bowman added that it is increasingly common to hear of cases of "employee snooping," adding that it's a problem in both the public and private sectors.

Keeping tabs on spouse

In February 2011, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol informed Canadian authorities that an RCMP officer's wife had been romantically involved with, and still maintained connections to, a member of the Hells Angels outlaw motorcycle gang.

The subsequent investigation revealed that the RCMP officer had used the National Crime Data Bank, without authorization, 69 times over an eight-month period to look up information on his then girlfriend — now wife — as well as the gang member and himself to see if authorities had made a connection between himself and the gang member.

When questioned, the officer admitted to accessing the system without authorization and telling his wife to change her licence plate number because it was associated with the gang member.

The disciplinary board members said the officer's acceptance of "responsibility for his actions and [participation] in the early resolution process" were considered alongside the allegations.

He was handed a reprimand and docked eight days' wages.

Laptop used to watch soccer, download porn

Between January and May 2010, a civilian member of the RCMP used his work-issued laptop computer to play World Cup soccer matches while on duty and download "pornographic files, programs, videos, music and other images," according to the documents.

The discipline documents also indicate the member had had his internet privileges revoked in March 2010 following a previous transgression.

The board noted in its decision that using an RCMP-issued laptop to download pornography, "after having been previously warned against such activity, is disgraceful."

It added that "civilian members [of the RCMP] must hold themselves to a much higher standard of conduct than what is expected from a member of the general public."

The board issued a reprimand and docked the member two days' pay.

RCMP resources used to snoop on ex-wife

In another case of private information being misused, one RCMP officer left his patrol area to snoop on his ex-wife.

According to the discipline documents, the officer's ex-wife and her boyfriend saw an RCMP patrol car driving through the parking garage of her Winnipeg condominium building at around 11:30 p.m. on May 8, 2010.

Suspecting the car was being driven by the ex-husband, the incident was reported to the RCMP's D Division headquarters in Winnipeg, which revealed the ex-husband had queried the boyfriend's licence plates in the police force's database.

The officer admitted that he performed the database search in the hopes of identifying his ex-wife's new boyfriend.

The discipline board considered the officer's acceptance of "responsibility for his actions and [participation] in the early resolution process" when deciding what actions to take. They also noted that the officer had co-operated with the investigation.

In their decision, members of the board said they hope the officer had "learned from his mistake and trusts he is indeed prepared to abide by a Code of Conduct," noting that "members of the Force are expected to act in an exemplary manner, and their conduct must be beyond reproach."

The officer was issued a reprimand and docked three days' pay.

Vigilante brother-in-law

In December 2008, a man and a woman walked into a Winnipeg car dealership and asked to take a pickup truck for a test drive. Hours later, the truck had not been returned.

That evening, the car salesman reported the vehicle stolen to the Winnipeg Police Service and also contacted his brother-in-law, an RCMP officer, seeking assistance.

Following several requests from his brother-in-law, the RCMP officer called the Winnipeg Operations Communications Centre and requested information on the suspects based on their licence plate number.

The officer provided the information he received to his brother-in-law, who passed it on to Winnipeg police.

Winnipeg police then launched an investigation into how the brother-in-law had obtained the information on the suspects, which led them to the RCMP officer.

The disciplinary board noted that this was a unique case, in that the misconduct was motivated by a desire to solve a crime, but noted the officer had "disclosed confidential information regarding the registered owner of a licence plate."

In that case, the officer was issued a reprimand.