A civilian was residing on a base where his spouse was a serving Canadian Forces (CF) member. This individual was arrested for impaired driving after failing a roadside breath test and taken, in handcuffs, to a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Detachment where he refused to provide a breath sample. He requested to be released on a Promise to Appear but he was held until he was taken back to the base and the appropriate documentation processed.
His licence was suspended for 24 hours after his arrest and he was subsequently issued a 21 day temporary operator permit which became effective after the 24 hour period. After the permit expired, a three-month provincial licence suspension came into effect. Data input errors were made, including information input into the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) system, e.g. regarding the start and expiration date of the three-month suspension. These errors were not discovered until some weeks later when an MP stopped his vehicle as he drove onto the base. During this stop, the MP told the individual his licence was under suspension and he was detained for a short period of time while information was clarified. During a separate but related incident, MPs observed this individual in a bar during a routine “
walk-through” of the facility, as well as observing his car outside the facility. They indicated that they had asked bar staff to let them know if the complainant attempted to drive away from the bar.
The complainant’s original complaint investigated by the Deputy Provost Marshal Professional Standards contained three allegations: that MPs had disclosed without authorization police information relating to the complainant to other persons; that an MP had detained the complainant without reasonable grounds to do so; and that an MP intentionally waited to intercept the complainant on suspicion of driving while his licence was suspended. These allegations were found to be unsubstantiated.
Pursuant to Section 250.31 of the National Defence Act, the complainant then submitted a written request to the Commission for a review of the Deputy Provost Marshal’s investigation. In this request, he expanded the number of allegations from three to five. The complainant alleged unlawful detainment by refusals to release him upon his request; excessively tight restraints during the complainant’s escort; disclosure of personal information about the complainant by MPs to third parties; being unfairly targeted by the military police; and unlawful detainment during a roadside stop.
The Commission’s review of the complainant’s five allegations determined that each of the allegations was unsubstantiated. However, in conducting its review, the Commission also identified opportunities to further strengthen certain operating practices to reinforce police safety when conducting prisoner escorts by having an assisting MP present. In this case, the MP who had arrested the complainant for impaired driving was alone when transporting him to and from the RCMP detachment. Indeed, it was for this reason that the MP did not stop to check the tightness of the handcuffs when the complainant raised the issue.
In addition, the Commission observed that if greater care had been taken to review the CIPC messages before they were placed in the file, errors in dates would likely have been identified which would have eliminated the resulting confusion regarding the status of the complainant’s driver’s licence suspension. It was recommended that additional procedures be implemented to prevent and/or discover and correct CPIC input errors, and that members be so advised. All of the Commission’s recommendations were accepted by the office of the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal.
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