All’s well here,
claims B.C.’s Office of the Police
Complaint Commissioner

We’re doing a great job — trust us,
their 2009 report implies


In its supposedly reassuring 2009 annual report released Jan. 7, the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner found 10 per cent of complaints against municipal police to be substantiated. I can only wonder about the other 90 per cent.

The OPCC said it substantiated 97 out of 960 complaints. The OPCC oversees the complaint process for B.C.’s 2,500 to 3,000 municipal cops but not the province’s 6,000 Mounties.

Media accounts have simply repeated information selected by the OPCC. But a few details are striking.

Even when the OPCC does find fault, penalties are inconsistent and feeble. Victoria Police Const. Greg Smith got a three-day suspension for permanently injuring a prisoner who was already handcuffed in jail. A Port Moody officer who sent an inappropriate e-mail to a civilian employee also got a three-day suspension but had to take professional counselling and write a letter of apology too.

Apparently not mentioned in the OPCC report, the example of Const. Smith shows that civil suits can work while police complaints don’t. Smith’s victim, Thomas McKay, sued and won a financial settlement. The lawsuit also brought about changes to the Victoria jail.

(Here’s more info about suing the police.)

According to the OPCC, another Port Moody officer was actually reprimanded for talking with a sarcastic tone. That really surprises me because my unsuccessful complaint against three Vancouver cops also dealt with the way they spoke to me. It was much worse than a sarcastic tone and that wasn’t even the most important aspect of the complaint.

Maybe Port Moody police don’t condone the VPD practice of verbal abuse to people who can’t talk back.

The media quote deputy police complaint commissioner Bruce M. Brown claiming that amended legislation will make B.C.’s police complaint system “much more robust,” when in fact the changes are minor.

Brown also says there were no reports of major police corruption. This, from someone who makes his living helping police cover up for misconduct and illegal actions.

That’s what Brown did with my complaint and I don’t think it was an isolated incident.

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