Halifax police react to The Coast's cyberstalking story
Women tell The Coast HRP didn't take their cyberstalking claims seriously
Halifax Regional Police say they have made mistakes in dealing with allegations of cyberstalking.
The admission follows an investigative story written by Hilary Beaumont of the Halifax weekly paper, The Coast.
HRP Deputy Chief Bill Moore says the investigations were not up to snuff.
"I guess the best thing I can say is that it's probably not our best effort. I don't think there was anything in there that an officer purposefully did but there were certainly areas that caused us some concern," he tells CBC's Information Morning.
Two women, who complained of cyberstalking, have told The Coast they do not think Halifax police took their complaints seriously.
One of the women — whom the paper calls "Nicole" — alleges her ex-boyfriend posted nude photos online on so-called "revenge porn" websites, after the relationship ended.
According to police reports obtained by The Coast, Nicole reported her ex-boyfriend to to police several times, claiming everything from abusive behaviour to stalking.
Nicole also told The Coast she suspects her ex-boyfriend created a fake online profile, posing as her, seeking men interested in carrying out a rape fantasy.
"Basically there was somebody who posted a Craigslist ad, using the email of the ex-boyfriend and he solicited somebody to rape Nicole. He pretends to be her in the email and describes an intricate rape fantasy that he wants played out and then he gives the person who answered the ad the address of her house," Beaumont tells CBC's Information Morning.
"According to the emails he made it all the way to her house, tried the doorknob and it was unlocked. The ex-boyfriend knew that her door had a broken lock and that they had a sort of open-door policy with friends, too. So he would have known the door would have been unlocked."
The man contacted through Craigslist felt the situation was a lie and did not go through with the rape fantasy. Nicole was later contacted through a dating website by the man from Craigslist, who shared with her the emails outlining the rape fantasy.
According to police files, the woman brought the rape emails to police. She says a young male officer didn't know how to deal with it.
'There's no way I can put sugar on this'
Both Nicole and her roommate say they fear for their safety.
Moore says senior staff have reviewed the investigative work of several officers.
"There's no way I can put sugar on this," says Moore.
He says the review will also look into the process for investigating cybercrime, in general. Moore describes it as complicated work but not impossible.
He has asked investigators to review, not only the process involved in this case, but similar cases.
Moore says it's a training issue for some of the officers who are on the front line, taking public complaints.
"We have people in our department that have a great expertise in some of these areas. The unfortunate part is that they may not be on the front lines taking the first complaint," says Moore.
"One of the things we've been working on over the last year is the trauma-informed approach to victims. Again … I don't think our officers mean to hurt people when they ask questions in certain ways but we do know that there are ways that you ask questions that can actually bring more pain to an individual. So we're working on those particular issues."
Moore says it's not just about policing within the Halifax Regional Municipality when it comes to cybercrime.
"There is another world out there to be policing."