British Columbia

Corruption investigation into 11 Abbotsford police officers dropped

The Office of Police Complaint Commissioner says it will no longer be investigating 11 Abbotsford police officers for corruption allegations.

Office of Police Complaint Commissioner says it will continue investigating 3 officers

Abbotsford Police Chief Bob Rich said mistakes were made in the way that search warrants were handled. (CBC)

The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner is dropping its corruption investigation into 11 members of the Abbotsford Police Department but will continue its probe of three other officers.

In a written statement Tuesday, the OPPC said a recent B.C. Supreme Court ruling determined that while information from informants can be used in criminal investigations, it can't be used in investigations conducted under the Police Act.

It said the decision prevents the New Westminster Police Department, tasked with looking into multiple allegations involving the Abbotsford police force, from completing those investigations.

The accusations against the three police officers who remain under investigation do not rely on informants.

The investigation into the officers was initiated after Const. Christopher Nicholson of the Abbotsford Police Department was charged with six counts of attempting to obstruct justice, three counts of breach of trust and one count of unsafe storage of a firearm.

After Nicholson's 2013 arrest, Abbotsford Police Chief Bob Rich told reporters the allegations involved an officer supplying information to a drug dealer, so the dealer could avoid being arrested.

Confidential informant policy flawed

The initial allegations targeting several members of the force also included misappropriation of payments to sources and the placement of inaccurate information into informant debriefing reports, according to the OPCC.

There were also allegations that officers misrepresented informants previous criminal histories and provided inaccurate data about the number of times that informants had provided them with information.

In a news release, Rich said the mistakes made by the 11 officers previously under investigation stemmed from "problems with the way we were doing search warrants based on informant information."

Rich said he has full confidence in the integrity and professionalism of the remaining officers who are or were involved in the Police Act investigations, but did not comment on the officer who has been criminally charged.

The Vancouver Police Department has since conducted an audit of the Abbotsford Police Department, which has implemented its recommendations, including updates to training, audits and policy.