MPCC-2012-001

This complaint arose from various requests by the complainant and his common law spouse to a Military Police Detachment for assistance concerning the conduct of the adjoining neighbours of their Private Military Quarters (PMQ). The complainant was dissatisfied with the level of service provided to him and his spouse by the Military Police members (MPs). Difficulties with the neighbours had arisen soon after the complainant and his family had taken up residence at a Canadian Forces Base (CFB) in 2009, and continued to escalate through 2011 when numerous calls were placed by the complainant and his spouse to the MPs for assistance. The complainant also contacted the Children’s Aid Society (CAS), school personnel and the school board concerning the interaction of his neighbours’ child with his own child.

Subsequent to these frequent contacts with the Military Police, the complainant expressed dissatisfaction with the service received by him and his spouse, and requested that the military chain of command review the way the MPs had handled these matters. After an internal review, the supervisor of the MPs acknowledged “minor procedural errors” and primarily responded to the complainant through verbal and informal means in January 2012.

The complainant remained dissatisfied with the outcome of the chain of command review of his matters, and on January 30, 2012 forwarded a complaint to the Commission, which was in turn directed to the CFPM to be dealt with in the first instance as per the National Defence Act (NDA).

On April 20, 2012 the Deputy Commander, Canadian Forces Military Police Group (Deputy Commander) wrote to the complainant indicating that a complete review of his complaints had been conducted by Professional Standards (PS), and their preliminary investigation concluded that the MPs responded to each and every call made by the complainant. In addition, the Deputy Commander noted that the involved MPs did contact outside agencies as the different incidents required. The Deputy Commander concluded that a full investigation was not required and invoked subsection 250.28(2)(a) of the NDA stating that the complaints were “frivolous and vexatious” and noted “frivolous” as meaning a “complaint devoid of substance or unsubstantiated”. The Officer in Charge (OIC) PS Investigations ultimately instructed all MPs at the MP Detachment in question on the importance of entering all notes and documents into SAMPIS (Security and Military Police Information System) to ensure that a complete record of all dealings with complainant, his spouse and their concerns was recorded.

The complainant requested the Commission review his complaint. Following its review and investigation of the complaint, the Commission concluded that all the subject MPs acted reasonably and within their jurisdictional boundaries.

The Commission recommended that the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal remind all Military Police detachments of their obligations under subsection 250.21(2) of the National Defence Act to forward all conduct complaints – whether initially made orally or in writing – to the Chairperson of the Military Police Complaints Commission and the CFPM/ Professional Standards, and those obligations be stressed in the initial and ongoing training of Military Police.

The Commission further recommended that the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal consider when reviewing future conduct complaints if subsection 250.28(2)(c) of the National Defence Act would be a more appropriate statutory basis for ending an investigation (“having regard to all the circumstances, investigation or further investigation is not necessary or reasonably practicable”) rather than subsection 250.28(2)(a) of the National Defence Act (”the complaint is frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith”) when it is concluded that further investigation of a complaint would not be useful in the circumstances. The Commission recommended in particular that there should be an evidentiary foundation for concluding a complaint is frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith, and that subsection 250.28(2)(a) should be used sparingly.

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