At least 18 investigations were ordered into the conduct or actions of Greater Victoria police officers in 2019 and 2020, according to data from the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner’s (OPCC) annual report.
The report compiles the number of registered complaints – filed by members of the public – as well as ordered investigations, initiated by the OPCC.
Investigations include police-involved incidents that result in injury, misconduct allegations brought forward by superior officers and complaints made by the public. Officers facing misconduct investigations can be reprimanded in various ways based on the severity of the incident – from being ordered to write apologies to suspended leaves.
The OPCC report that the Victoria Police Department had 75 complaints – 35 admissible –and four ordered investigations. In total, the OPCC opened 187 files into VicPD, which results either from complaints, concerns, internal discipline and ordered investigations.
The Oak Bay Police Department had no admissible registered complaints and two ordered investigations. The Saanich Police Department received 29 complaints and six ordered investigations and the Central Saanich Police Department had four complaints and six investigations ordered.
The total number of registered complaints across B.C. grew from 487 to 537 and the number of investigations went from 79 to 97. In total, eight officers from various departments across B.C. were dismissed after investigation into their conduct, a jump from three dismissals the year prior.
Half of the eight dismissals resulted from police officers engaging in inappropriate or unwanted touching or from violating their positions of trust by engaging in inappropriate relationships or communication.
At least 16 officers from Greater Victoria police departments were issued disciplinary or corrective measures between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020, according to the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner’s Annual Report, though the incidents themselves may have occurred outside that time frame.
One incident saw a VicPD reserve constable dismissed for activating the lights and siren on a patrol vehicle to clear an intersection in June 2019.
In a May 2018 incident, an Oak Bay reserve constable received written reprimand for being intoxicated to the point of urinating outdoors, as well as drinking to the point of losing consciousness outside a Victoria nightclub.
In June 2017, an off-duty VicPD officer was pulled over by a member of the RCMP and found to be impaired by alcohol after failing two breath samples. At the time, his car was impounded and he was issued a 90-day driving prohibition. He was dismissed for discreditable conduct.