MPCC-2008-052

This conduct complaint arose from a military police investigation of the complainant on suspicion of illegal drug use while undergoing initial training as an officer-cadet at a military recruit school. The brief investigation concluded that the suspicions of illegal drug use by the complainant and another officer-cadet were unsubstantiated and no further action was taken.

The complainant took issue with the way in which the investigation was handled. In particular, the complainant objected to: the grounds on which the investigation was initiated; the manner in which he was summoned for his interview with the military police (MP) investigators, the request being transmitted through his chain of command at the recruit school; and the fact that, in his view, the MP investigation unfairly targeted him and the other officer-cadet because they are black. In the complainant’s view, the grounds for suspecting him of illegal drug use were insufficient to warrant investigation and, moreover, as the suspicions were brought forward by his sergeant (with whom he did not get along), they should not, in his view, have been taken at face value. The complainant alleged that he and the other officer-cadet who was the subject of the investigation were victims of racial profiling since other white officer-cadets who displayed similar symptoms at that time (nasal congestion, watery eyes) were not investigated. The complainant also alleged that the manner in which the duty warrant officer at the recruit school transmitted the MPs’ request that he attend the MP detachment to make a voluntary statement undermined its voluntary nature and thereby infringed his rights. Finally, the complainant objected to the fact that the MPs would not tell him who suspected him of using drugs and that he was not advised of the results of the investigation.

The Commission’s investigation revealed that, contrary to the complainant’s suspicions, it was a fellow officer-cadet, not his sergeant, who was the source of the allegations of suspected drug use. Although the indications of drug use by the complainant were not strong, the MPs nonetheless had a duty to investigate the allegations in light of the policies both of the MPs and of the recruit school.

Moreover, as the allegations under investigation were specific to the two officer cadets in question, and were based on observed behaviour rather than racial factors, racial profiling was not a factor in the investigation. While the manner in which the duty warrant officer urged the complainant to attend the MP detachment for an interview could well have undermined the voluntary nature of the interview, the MP made appropriate efforts to rectify the situation and properly advised him of his rights. Moreover, as no charges were laid against the complainant, the MPs were under no obligation to identify the source of the allegations concerning the complainant, and it would have been contrary to good police practices and to the informant’s privacy interests to have done so. Finally, in this type of case, it was not the responsibility of the MPs to notify the complainant of the results of the investigation, although the complainant was informally advised. Rather, the MPs are required to report their findings to the suspect’s chain of command and it is for the chain of command to decide on further action, including informing the subject of the investigation of its results.

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