Another reason why
civilians should investigate police

VPD inspector Ian Upton’s disreputable career
illustrates the inherent corruption of
cops investigating cops


When discussing the subject of police investigating each other, people often ignore a massive elephant hulking over the room. The problem with cops investigating cops goes far beyond bias, let alone the apprehension of bias. Some of the cop investigators, maybe most of them, are liars. Vancouver police inspector Ian Upton is a perfect example.

There’s no other way to explain the obvious dishonesty of an investigator who sets out in advance to find the police are 100-per-cent right and the complainant 100-per-cent wrong. That’s what Upton did with my complaint and there’s every reason to believe that was typical of the way he investigated his fellow officers.

Despite the pressures of policing, Upton might not have been a complete liar before he joined the Vancouver Police Professional Standards unit. But while working there he most definitely was a complete, utter and total liar. Now that he’s been promoted to another unit, it’s fair to ask whether he ever stopped being a liar.

As a sergeant who investigated complaints against his fellow officers, Upton approached his work with the intention of committing deceit. He lied, he covered up evidence, he deliberately misinterpreted other evidence and he deliberately misinterpreted straightforward sections of the Criminal Code. He did so to excuse, rationalize or cover up misconduct and illegal actions by his fellow officers.

Again, that’s what Upton did with my complaint and there’s every reason to believe that was typical of his work.

Maybe it was the pressure of investigating his colleagues that turned Upton into such a liar. But we don’t know whether he stopped being a liar after leaving Professional Standards to join another VPD unit.

Therefore his credibility is shot. Every investigation Upton works on, all evidence he handles, any testimony he gives is tainted.

The same might also apply to current VPD Professional Standards cops like Staff Sgt. Glenn Newman and Insp. Mario Giardini.

Upton’s work shows an example of process corruption. But Upton might also be corrupt in the more common sense of the term — of lying in return for money. Some time during or after his stint with VPD Professional Standards, Upton was promoted from sergeant to inspector. Was that a reward for his dishonesty?

At the very least, Upton’s lying proved no impediment to promotion. It therefore shows the system’s inherent corruption.

Another corrupt Vancouver police officer was Rollie Woods, who headed VPD Professional Standards while Upton worked there. Every professional failing of Upton also applies to Woods. On retiring from Vancouver police, Woods was hired by B.C.’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner. The decision to hire Woods strongly suggests cronyism and reinforces the OPCC commitment to dishonesty. But this cushy retirement sinecure could also be a financial reward for police corruption.

The OPCC is every bit as corrupt as Vancouver Police Professional Standards. Like Upton and Woods, deputy police complaint commissioner Bruce M. Brown (an ex-cop himself) is a liar who knowingly and routinely approves dishonest police investigations, as well as other misconduct and illegal actions by police.

That’s what Brown did with my complaint and, like the rampant dishonesty of Upton and Woods, there’s every reason to believe that’s typical of Brown’s work.

Of course without Brown’s overt support for dishonest investigations, corrupt cops like Ian Upton and Rollie Woods couldn’t get away with being such liars.

The system and many of those who work in it are corrupt. That won’t change until they’re replaced by honest people who are free of police loyalties.


June 3, 2010, update: A dishonest police internal investigation has come back to haunt the investigator. A defence lawyer in an unrelated case challenged the credibility of a police witness, RCMP Supt. Wayne Rideout, because Rideout led the investigation that cleared the four Mounties involved in Robert Dziekanski’s death. More...

Additional reasons why cops shouldn’t investigate cops:
Unlike lawyers, doctors and teachers,
paramilitary groups foster a culture that discourages
impartial investigation within the ranks
Cops who investigate cops honestly
can face the wrath of other cops
Many cops actively oppose impartial investigations
Civilians who aren’t ex-cops can become
excellent investigators without conflicting loyalties

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