MPCC-2005-058

During a training exercise at a Canadian Forces Base, a member of the Canadian Forces Reserves was involved in a minor collision while driving a military vehicle. After interviewing the Reservist a couple of days later, a member of the military police (MP) blamed the collision, in part, on the Reservist’s lack of sleep.

The Reservist complained that the MP who interviewed him after the incident should not have done so, given the Reservist’s sleep-deprived state nor, for the same reason, should the MP have allowed the Reservist to return to his training after the interview. The complainant also stated that the MP had a duty to investigate why the Reservist was suffering from a lack of sleep.

An investigation by the Deputy Provost Marshal Professional Standards found the MP in question had acted properly.

Police are obliged to take into account the health and well-being of the subject before they proceed with an interview. In this case, while the MP noted that the Reservist appeared tired, he also observed that the man seemed capable of giving an accurate description of the incident. As well, the Commission found nothing to indicate the Reservist asked the MP to postpone the interview, or said anything to suggest he was not able to answer questions.

While aware that lack of sleep was a factor in the vehicle collision, the MP was also aware that the Reservist was among a large number of people participating in an intensive training exercise. From his personal experience, the MP knew that all of the trainees would be functioning on very little sleep. Since the Reservist did not ask for help or to be kept out of the training, the Commission found the MP had no reason or authority to intervene.

As for third issue - that the MP should have investigated why the Reservist was not getting enough sleep - the complainant himself acknowledged that he did not make any allegations of negligence or misconduct related to the training during his interview with the MP. Thus, the Commission found no fault in the MP’s decision to confine his investigation to the vehicle collision.

It is interesting to note that this incident was one of three minor collisions that happened during the same training exercise, all of which military police attributed at least in part to trainees’ lack of sleep. A military police supervisor reviewing the accident reports noted the similarities, and drew these to the attention of the chain of command. As a result, changes were made to standing orders at the base to ensure a proper balance between the demands of training and the need to maintain safety.

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