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Vancouver police officers drank beer while on duty: OPCC report

FILE -- The building that houses the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner in Victoria, B.C. (Source: OPCC.bc.ca)

The OPCC ordered a total of 79 investigations into police officer conduct between April 2018 and March 2019

There was a 65 per cent increase in the number of OPCC investigations from the same time period the year before

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – From drinking beer on the job, to giving a police uniform to a civilian. Those are just some of the allegations made against B.C.’s municipal cops, investigated by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) over the last year and detailed in its annual report.

The OPCC ordered a total of 79 investigations into police officer conduct between April 2018 and March 2019, a 65 per cent increase from the same time period the year before.

Three Vancouver Police Department officers accused of drinking beer were part of an undercover surveillance team, and drank while debriefing and discussing portions of the day’s surveillance, although the report says they didn’t get intoxicated. They had finished their operational duties in the September 2017 incident and weren’t going to be redeployed. They were disciplined with a verbal reprimand.

The Vancouver officer, meanwhile, who gave a police uniform shirt to a civilian, retired soon after the December 2016 incident. It’s not clear why they handed over the uniform but the report says there was no indication that it was used in an unauthorized manner.

Other investigations include a Victoria police officer who strapped her two children together using one seat belt in the front seat of a police van and then activated the emergency lights and siren while driving her children to school, forcing several motorists to pull over to the side of the road. The officer was given a violation ticket for having two kids in a single seat and retired after the September 2018 incident.

In Delta, an officer was suspended for four days without pay and given training after knowingly issuing 20 Motor Vehicle Act violation tickets on 11 separate occasions from June 2016 to July 2016 for offences that did not happen. The report says when the officer came across drivers breaking the rules around cell phone use, he issued violation tickets for lesser offences.

Also in Delta, a police officer was given a verbal warning after telling his supervisor in August 2018 that he had used a police database (PRIME) to “conduct a query” of an extended family member. The same officer had told the police department that an extended family member had gang associations several years ago and conducted the queries for the safety of himself and his family.

In Abbotsford, a police officer was verbally reprimanded after exchanging inappropriate messages using police Mobile Data Terminals (MDTs) with officers from several other policing agencies from November 2015 to January 2016.

And another officer was given a verbal warning and training after removing certain “sensitive police-related materials from the police department’s premises” beginning in December 2011 and storing them them in a container in his home.

The more serious investigations the OPCC concluded over the last year include a West Vancouver cop who was dismissed after sending sexual emails and text messages to women he met on duty and a Vancouver senior-ranking officer who disciplined a special municipal constable by slapping her on the backside.