MPCC-2004-030

This review of a conduct complaint stemmed from a breakdown of communications between an investigator of the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service and the Officer Commanding a Military Police detachment.

This communications breakdown resulted in both the investigator and the detachment commander filing conduct complaints against the other. The Deputy Provost Marshal Professional Standards (DPM PS) decided to deal with both sets of complaints in the same file and to treat both men as co-complainants and co-subjects. Additionally, the investigator filed an interference complaint with the Complaints Commission, which was addressed in MPCC-2002-042-Interference.

This request for review was brought by the Officer Commanding (hereinafter the complainant) about the handling and the conclusion of the DPM PS investigation. Specifically, the complainant took issue with the fact that he did not receive any Status Letters or the Letter of Final Disposition until he obtained them through a separate grievance process; that the DPM PS should not have decided to combine both sets of complaints; and, that the DPM PS reached an improper decision in regards to the original complaint that the subject was not untruthful. Specifically, the complainant argued that the subject lied when he said that he did not know the identity of an anonymous informer and that the subject should have disclosed the informer’s identity as being one of the complainant’s subordinates. Moreover, the complainant took issue with the DPM PS recommendation to counsel him together with the subject. The complainant also questioned the adequacy of the corrective measures taken against the subject in respect of factual discrepancies between his investigation report and a related report by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

The Interim Chair of the Complaints Commission found that the complainant did not receive the required correspondence, despite the fact that the DPM PS fulfilled its statutory requirement. The Interim Chair noted that this issue had been previously address (MPCC-2003-033) and recommended that the necessary correspondence be sent directly to the members, rather than through their chain of command.

The Interim Chair also found no inherent problem with the decision to treat the mutual complaints as a single complaint investigation, provided that the rights of the subject members were not compromised as a result.

The Interim Chair found that the DPM PS was correct in its determination that the subject was not compelled to disclose the identity of the informant. Similarly, the Interim Chair found that it was a reasonable exercise of investigative discretion for the subject to refuse to disclose the informer’s identity. However, the Interim Chair found that while the subject may not have been untruthful with the complainant, the subject should have been more forthright in advising the complainant on the nature and status of his investigation. Specifically, the Interim Chair believed that the subject should have told the complainant that he was also investigating certain individuals in the Military Police Detachment under the command of the complainant. In order to prevent similar misunderstandings in the future, the Interim Chair recommended that the Canadian Force Provost Marshal review the Military Police Policies and Standard Operating Procedures and make any necessary refinements, with a view to ensuring that clear guidance is provided to Military Police members on the informational requirements of local Military Police Advisors and Commanders with respect to ongoing police investigations within their areas of responsibility.

In regard to the counselling of the complainant, the Interim Chair agreed with the DPM PS’ direction to counsel the complainant in relation to this incident.

Similarly, the Interim Chair was satisfied with the individual remedial measure against the subject for failing to accurately report the findings of the RCMP investigation report. The Interim Chair was also satisfied with the general remedial measure undertaken by the Canadian Force Provost Marshal to clarify the Military Police Policies and Military Police Academy lesson plans regarding accurate reporting of investigation reports.

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