Lost police gear shows negligence

Re: VicPD looking for lost riot gear, News, Feb. 22, 2012.

Re: VicPD looking for lost riot gear, News, Feb. 22, 2012.

Victoria Police have lost tactical gear including a lethal weapon. This is rare among Canadian Police, but similar incidents have occurred in recent years and most are still missing.

Nearly 75 per cent of the weapons lost or stolen since 1994 in Canada — a list that includes sniper rifles, shotguns, pepper spray canisters, loaded ammunition clips and dozens of police batons — have never been recovered.

Reports available through access to information legislation reveal police officers lose weapons in a variety of public places, including at Tim Hortons shops, parking lots and parks.

Losing that much equipment shows negligence and just a lack of caring. Furthermore, the number of occurrences shows a definite disregard to ensure strict standards in the maintenance, storage and updating of equipment are in place. To add insult to injury, Victoria police officials will not say what those standards are.

The Victoria police board must recognize the public interest in maintaining strict control over police-issued use-of-force options, and that this is an act of gross negligence that has put people at extreme risk.

Victoria asks for the residents to support its spending on police: the highest of any B.C. municipality on a per capita and GDP basis, but turns around and puts weapons in the hands of criminals.

The chief constable and the board are ultimately responsible. Someone needs to resign or be fired. Accountability requires nothing less.

In two cases of abuse, VicPD officers were not disciplined by the chief constable. So it is highly doubtful that the “right thing” will happen now.

You have a sense that because the police board are not talking about making changes that reflect the public’s interest, they think they can get away with it. And I think that’s wrong.

William Perry