The Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC or Commission) received a complaint from a Sub-Lieutenant. His complaint regarded the conduct of two military police members in the loss or destruction of two copies of an interview recorded on DVDs. The recorded interview concerned an administrative action regarding the Sub-Lieutenant.
The DVDs were labeled “
safekeeping” and not defined as “
evidence”, which meant the inventory, documentation controls and records were lax. The DVDs were to be destroyed once the file was complete. Before the end of the file, the Sub-Lieutenant applied for an Access to Information and Privacy report in order to submit his grievances on the administrative action. The DVDs could not be found.
The Access to Information and Privacy request triggered a search of the military police detachment. The DVDs were not found, but other discrepancies were noted in the maintenance and upkeep of the detachment’s records and evidence. New Standard Operating Procedures were drafted and implemented.
The Sub-Lieutenant attempted to obtain the DVDs through a Privacy Act request. The response indicated that the DVDs were lost. The Sub-Lieutenant then applied for all the documentation with regards to his file. He submitted a complaint to the Deputy Provost Marshal Professional Standards (DPM PS) and the MPCC. The initial investigation by the DPM PS determined that although the DVDs were lost, it was not intentionally done. Also, the DPM PS stated that the detachment’s protocols were to be reviewed.
The allegation submitted to the MPCC was that the loss of the DVDs questioned the integrity of the military police and contravened section 4(i) and 4(l) of the Military Police Professional Code of Conduct. Section 4(i) and (l) state that no member of the military police shall:
- knowingly and improperly interfere with the conduct of any investigation; and
- engage in conduct that is likely to discredit the military police or that calls into question the member’s ability to carry out their duties in a faithful and impartial manner.
It is important to note that the Commission was not restricted in its investigation to conduct defined in the Military Police Professional Code of Conduct. It was possible for the Commission to find there was a failure in a military police member’s conduct without the finding of fault under the Military Police Professional Code of Conduct.
The Corporal who was involved in the case, stated that as he was a new member, he was not aware of all the requirements to document evidence or items, such as the DVDs. The DVDs were not given a Property Continuity Report and were not placed in the exhibit locker. The Sergeant who was supervising the Corporal was the Evidence Custodian for the detachment and did not properly oversee the Corporal. The new operating procedures were considered to correct the ongoing problems at the detachment. The Commission was unable to substantiate the allegation, under section 4(i) of the Military Police Professional Code of Conduct, that the military police knowingly destroyed the evidence.
The second part of the allegation, referring to 4(l) of the Military Police Professional Code of Conduct was deemed to be unsubstantiated. The loss of the DVDs was accidental and not maliciously committed. The level of the mistake under investigation did not amount to the level necessary to qualify under 4(l).
The Commission found that although the detachment failed to properly maintain evidence, it was decided, that the new procedures coupled with not knowingly losing the DVDs or acting in a way to discredit the military police, that the allegation was unsubstantiated.
The first recommendation provided was that the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal should provide adequate training and instruction on the documentation of evidence. The second recommendation was to detail how evidence was to be stored if it was not expected to be an exhibit. The third recommendation was that the detachment should maintain old archived copies of the Standard Operating Procedures in order to help investigations which take place after the procedures are superseded.
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