Meet the new OPCC boss:
Prabhu Rajan

Meanwhile Mike Farnworth keeps stalling
on his vague—and weird—Police Act changes

February 25, 2024

Prabhu Rajan BC police complaint commissioner

Could Prabhu Rajan’s background serve
Mike Farnworth’s cop-friendly agenda?


It sure happened suddenly. B.C.’s new police complaint commissioner Prabhu Rajan began work the same day a committee led by an ex-cop recommended his appointment to the legislature. Did the Ontario transplant have time to pack his toothbrush?

Rajan follows a single five-year term by past-commissioner Clayton Pecknold. Except for former commissioner Don Morrison, who resigned in disgrace, Pecknold’s predecessors held two four-year terms each. No reason was given for Pecknold’s departure.

Rajan has held legal counsel positions over at least two decades for the Ontario Chief Coroner, Ontario Civilian Police Commission and Ontario Human Rights Commissioner. He’s also provided some kind of legal services to the Ontario Provincial Police.

On one hand it’s encouraging that someone was chosen from outside B.C.’s ethically challenged legal establishment and poverty pimp industry. But especially significant might be Rajan’s HRC background. As far as can be determined from nebulous and highly confused info released by the legislature, Solicitor General Mike Farnworth plans to thwart police accountability by manipulating identity politics. (As B.C. HR commissioner Kasari Govender demonstrates, identity issues are highly manipulable.)

Yet Farnworth’s spent years stalling on his stated intention to overhaul B.C.’s Police Act. He’s offered no explanations. (Did he wait too long? Does the retirement-ready SG now face resistance from Premier David Eby?)


SG Mike Farnworth opponent of police accountability

Five years of stalling puts Solicitor General Mike Farnworth’s
weird Police Act proposals in long-term limbo.


It was nearly five years ago that Farnworth had the legislature strike an all-party Special Committee to Review the Police Complaint Process. Its November 2019 report presented 38 recommendations, but with no meaningful changes in mind.

Like all legislative committee reports on police-related issues, it appeared to be composed by a ghostwriter on orders from above. Nevertheless Farnworth inexplicably had another committee sign off on another set of Police Act recommendations in April 2022. Extremely hazy on details, the recommendations would create separate procedures for separate identity groups, all the while preserving the most important aspects of the cop status quo (for example the cop-friendly OPCC’s lack of transparency and accountability, and the power of cops to be investigated by their cop buddies on charges as serious as sexual misconduct including rape).

Nearly two years later, Farnworth hasn’t acted on that committee’s recommendations either, even though they were probably written on instructions from the ex-cops who hold senior positions in his ministry. Farnworth’s been a cop stooge throughout his career. So what’s stalling him isn’t clear.

As for Pecknold, it’s hard to evaluate his term due to the secret workings of B.C.’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner. I’m aware of no cover-ups under his leadership, unlike at least four cover-ups that characterized his predecessor Stan Lowe and deputy commissioner Rollie Woods. Pecknold even ordered investigations on his own initiative, without receiving complaints. (On behalf of Lowe, Woods had previously claimed that wasn’t allowed under the Police Act.)

Pecknold agreed to take up a complaint I made against unnamed District of Saanich cops who covered up Brent Wray’s assault on Don Lapshinoff. But Pecknold insisted the investigation and its results remain secret. He also used Police Act secrecy to refuse to divulge whether an investigation had been or would be conducted into Victoria police who allegedly covered up Felicia McCreight’s charges against VicPD officer Jose Bingham. B.C.’s Police Act does allow the OPCC to release such info in the public’s interest.

Pecknold refused my request to order investigations into Vancouver police who covered up officer Taylor Robinson’s assault on a disabled native woman. Of course such an investigation would reveal more details about the OPCC’s collaboration in a cop cover-up that was especially egregious even by former commissioner Stan Lowe’s standards. Those details would also embarrass Lowe’s supporters in B.C.’s legal and political establishment.

I’ve also received a number of accounts from people whose complaints were brushed off by facile OPCC rationales during Pecknold’s term.

The OPCC’s secrecy and unanswerable status continue to block police accountability. Yet with consistent unanimity, legislative committees have ignored this concern, as they’ve ignored calls for independent civilian investigation of police sexual misconduct including rape.

The April 2022 committee report continues that policy of negligence, this time using identity politics as an evasive strategy.

It’s in that atmosphere of delay, uncertainty and cynicism—all continuing B.C.’s inadequate system of police accountability—that Rajan takes office.

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B.C.’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner
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