Nova Scotia

Halifax police audit finds drugs and money held as evidence can't be located

Halifax Regional Police have released an internal audit into how it handles drug, money and other materials meant to be evidence in criminal cases. The audit found evidence of widespread problems with record-keeping.

Halifax Regional Police say finding missing evidence and improving procedures is a priority

Halifax Regional Police Superintendent Jim Perrin speaks to media Thursday about an audit critical of the way the force handles evidence. (Robert Short/CBC)

Halifax Regional Police released an internal audit Thursday that found widespread record-keeping problems related to its handling of drugs, money and other materials the force holds as evidence in criminal cases.

The audit was ordered after the province's Serious Incident Response Team charged a Halifax Regional Police officer with breach of trust and obstruction of justice.

The charges against Const. Laurence Gary Basso were recently stayed by the Crown. Prosecutors have up to a year from that suspension to restore the charges against him.

The audit found evidence continuity reports are often missing important details and are rarely accurate.

It also found 90 per cent of exhibits in one drug vault weren't where police records said they were supposed to be. A subsequent review still found 52 per cent of exhibits couldn't be located.

In another drug vault, the initial audit showed 24 per cent of exhibits weren't where they were supposed to be.

In the money vault, 55 per cent of the exhibits weren't where they were supposed to be after the initial audit. That figure improved to 12 per cent in a review conducted last month.

In a statement this morning, police said finding the missing exhibits and improving procedures are now priorities.