THE Police Complaint Commissioner has initiated an investigation pursuant to the BC Police Act into the conduct of 19 police officers from the Abbotsford Police Department, Vancouver Police Department, New Westminster Police Department, Delta Police Department, Surrey Police Service, Saanich Police Department, Metro Vancouver Transit Police and Victoria Police Department, according to a press statement on Monday by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC).
Due to the number of municipal agencies involved in this matter and the serious nature of the alleged misconduct, the OPCC has employed an infrequently used provision in the Police Act to seek the appointment of one or more Special Provincial Constables to complete this investigation independent of any BC police agencies.
Special Provincial Constables must be appointed by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. The Independent Investigations Unit (IIU) of Manitoba has been identified as the investigating agency and arrangements between the provinces are being finalized.
Based on information received by the OPCC, a number of concerns were identified during a BC Municipal Undercover Training Course on May 2 that included participants from BC municipal police and other agencies. The conduct was reported to the BC Municipal Chiefs of Police by the RCMP who had officers present in an observer role. It was then reported to the OPCC and an order of investigation requested.
The actions of some municipal police officers while performing various physical acts and activities in some of the scenarios caused concern that their actions could be defined as potential misconduct under the Police Act.
The nature of the allegations includes serious and concerning conduct performed in front of course supervisors and other course participants. The scope of this investigation will include municipal police officers who were candidates as well as municipal police officers in supervisory positions. Chief Constable John Lo of the West Vancouver Police Department has been appointed as the Discipline Authority.
“Please note that at this stage these allegations have not been proven. While the matter is underway the OPCC will not be making any further comment,” the statement said.