MPCC-2012-028

This complaint arose from a traffic stop at a Canadian forces base in Québec. The complainant, a civilian, was going to use the ATM located at the Canex building near the main gate of the base.  The first MP member noticed that the complainant was not wearing her seatbelt.  He turned his police vehicle around to intercept the vehicle. He observed that the complainant had stopped in a no parking area.  The MP approached and requested the complainant’s driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance.  She responded by requesting that he call the civilian police authorities to have them attend.  After some futile discussion, the MP requested assistance.  The MP’s supervisor arrived with another MP a few minutes later and the discussion continued.  After approximately 15 minutes, the complainant surrendered her documents.  She was allowed to go to the ATM briefly, and the MPs prepared her traffic tickets. 

Shortly after her return from the ATM, the complainant began a series of actions which repeatedly interrupted the MPs in their work.  Ultimately, the MPs arrested her for obstruction and placed her in handcuffs in the back seat of the police car.  She was released approximately 20 minutes later and served with traffic tickets for illegal parking, failing to wear a seatbelt and failing to produce documents when requested.

Later the same day, the complainant attended the MP Detachment and began the complaint process.  She alleged that the supervising MP was impolite from the start; that she should not have been arrested; and that excessive force was used during the arrest which caused injuries to her.  She also alleged that one or all the MPs engaged in discreditable conduct including, having an aggressive attitude, yelling, grabbing her arms, sputtering in her face, denying her access to a lawyer, taking an excessive amount of time to issue the tickets, endangering her life, and failing to return her documents in a timely manner.  She later alleged that she was tricked by being told she had been put into contact with the local civilian police when she was in fact speaking with a DND receptionist.  She also alleged that the MPs caused damage to her car during the arrest process.

The subject MPs said that they acted professionally during the incident. In their view, the complainant’s obstructive behaviour lengthened the interaction and led to a greater use of force than would otherwise have been required.  They noted that unfamiliarity with the use of the relevant provincial legislation may also have added to the time that was required to issue the tickets. They admitted that her documents were not returned to her in a timely manner.  Nevertheless, this was unintentional and immediately rectified upon discovery.

Following its review and investigation of the complaint, the Commission concluded that all the allegations were unsubstantiated.  However, the Commission recommended the CFPM take steps to ensure the functionality of the Mobile Video Recording Systems (MVRS) as well as adequate and consistent training on its operation, in accordance with the current Canadian Forces Military Police Group Orders (CF MP Gp Orders).  The Commission also recommended MP detachments be reminded of the importance of maintaining complete and accurate MP dispatch logbooks as some entries in this case were found to be inaccurate. 

Finally, the Commission recommended that MPs in the Quebec region be provided with adequate training and user-friendly reference tools with respect to the application of provincial laws relevant to their mandate.

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