MPCC-2008-039

The Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC or Commission) received a complaint from a woman who overheard two adults threatening to wash a child’s mouth out with soap. She felt that when she reported the incident to the military police that two military police members did not take her concerns seriously. Her complaint addressed the acts of the two MP members, a Corporal and a Leading Seaman.

With respect to the Corporal, the complainant stated that he mishandled the investigation, that he was inadequately trained for the investigation and that he failed to provide a complaint form.

With respect to the Leading Seaman, the complainant stated that he was aggressive and unprofessional towards her and that he failed to provide a complaint form.

The first allegation referred to the Corporal’s alleged mishandling and lack of thoroughness on the file. Following a review of the information available to the Corporal as well as the relevant provisions of the Criminal Code and the Military Police Policies and Technical Procedures, the Commission found that the Corporal appropriately exercised his policing discretion. The Corporal did conduct several interviews and collected information, which suggests that he was thorough in the management of the file. Even though the lack of charges may not have been satisfactory to the complainant, the Corporal did conduct himself appropriately. The allegation was unsubstantiated.

The second allegation against the Corporal was that he was inadequately trained for investigations involving minors. The Commission determined that his training was sufficient and that his lack of experience did not detract from his abilities to perform the investigation properly. The MPCC found that the Corporal interviewed several witnesses to try to corroborate the story and that he knew how to process a complaint concerning a child. Therefore the allegation was unsubstantiated.

The first allegation against the Leading Seaman was that he was said to be aggressive and acted improperly towards the complainant. The Leading Seaman was asked to attend a meeting between the complainant and the Corporal as the Corporal had difficulty communicating with the complainant. The complainant stated that the Leading Seaman was aggressive, stern and domineering, but the Corporal and the Leading Seaman recalled that the Leading Seaman was only firm in order to explain the situation. The Commission felt that there was insufficient evidence for such a conclusion and therefore, determined the allegation as unsubstantiated.

The joint allegation between the Corporal and the Leading Seaman was in regards to the failure to provide a complaint form. The complainant requested to make a complaint, which the Corporal remembered, but neither he nor the Leading Seaman gave the complainant the relevant information or the form. The Commission highlighted the need for complaints to maintain the proper oversight conducted by the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM) and the MPCC. This allegation was substantiated.

The Commission submitted two recommendations to the CFPM. The first recommendation to the CFPM was that the military police members should be reminded of the importance of providing the information and the complaint form to individuals expressing an interest in filing a complaint.

The second recommendation concerned the ability of the Corporal to take notes and the general importance of keeping an accurate and up-to-date notebook. The dates in the Corporal’s notebook were slightly confused and missing. Although, these minor mistakes did not affect the substance of the military police investigation or the report that was submitted, it was recommended that importance of accurate note-taking be reviewed with the Corporal.

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