Conduct Case Summary MPCC-2015-011
This Military Police (MP) conduct complaint arose out of the investigation of a complaint against an officer who was a member of the Cadet Instructing Cadre (CIC) at a cadet camp. The complaint, made by a fellow CIC officer, was to the effect that the subject CIC officer had lived rent-free on a year-round basis at the cadet camp for a number of years. The complaint was made initially with the chain of command, however, the army Area Commander ordered an MP investigation.
As the MP investigation into the complainant’s allegations commenced, the MP members became aware that the same subject CIC officer was also alleged to have committed a sexual assault against another instructor at the cadet camp. As a result, the investigation of the subject officer was divided into two investigations, with the sexual assault aspect being taken over by the CFNIS, while the alleged fraud in relation to rent-free occupation of the camp remained with the regular garrison MP members. However, due to an overlap in relevant witnesses and the priority given to the sexual assault investigation, the CFNIS agreed to help the other investigating MP members by asking appropriate witnesses questions pertinent to the fraud investigation and sharing relevant information with the MP members.
In the end, the MP investigation concluded there had been no criminal wrongdoing, as they had determined that the subject CIC officer had received authorization from his commanding officer to reside at the camp in the off-season and store personal effects there, and that he had been charged and paid the applicable fees.
The complainant was dissatisfied with the results of the MP investigation and believed that the investigation was flawed. He filed an MP conduct complaint with the MPCC.
For their part, Canadian Forces Military Police Group (CF MP Gp) Professional Standards (who deal with MP conduct complaints in the first instance) concluded, based on a review of the MP investigation file, that the investigation had been professional and thorough, and therefore found the complaint to be unsubstantiated.
Soon after the completion of the MP Professional Standards investigation, the Department of National Defence (DND)’s Internal Disclosure Office (IDO) released the results of its own investigation into the matter and concluded that the subject CIC officer had in fact resided at the cadet camp year round over a couple of years and did not pay rent. The IDO therefore assessed the subject officer residency fees for the period in question. The IDO also determined that the authorization given for the officer to reside and store personal effects at the camp had been improperly given by the camp commandant on the basis of a personal connection with the officer. As the IDO investigation was also triggered by allegations from the complainant, he received a copy of their report.
Noting the apparent contradiction in the results of the MP (including Professional Standards) and IDO investigations, the complainant requested a review of his MP conduct complaint by the MPCC.
Following its own review of the MP fraud investigation file – including relevant information from the overlapping CFNIS sexual assault investigation, available IDO information, and its own further investigative efforts – the MPCC found that the investigation of the complainant’s allegations was indeed flawed in a number of respects, and therefore found the MP conduct complaint to be substantiated. This finding was based on a number of noted deficiencies, including: inadequate cooperation from the CFNIS investigators; failure to interview key witnesses identified in the MP members’ own investigation plans; failure to pursue information relevant to determining the entire period that the subject CIC officer was improperly residing and storing his effects at the camp; failure to interpret and probe appropriately the subject officer’s pay records; and failure to investigate the timing and legitimacy of the camp commanding officer’s authorization to the subject officer to make such personal use of the camp facilities.
The MPCC made five recommendations as a result of its review.
First, that the CFPM ensure that a ‘lessons learned’ review of the MP investigation at issue in this complaint be conducted, and that the two subject MP members in respect of whom the complaint was substantiated be involved with this review.
Second, that the CFPM review the criteria for triggering CFNIS investigations to ensure they are sufficiently broad, with particular reference to situations where there is significant overlap with a separate non‑CFNIS MP investigation.
Third, that the CFPM ensure that there is clear policy direction in place such that the assignment of investigations to MP units can be done quickly.
Fourth, that the CFPM ensure that appropriate policies are in place to ensure proper liaison between the CFNIS and other MP units when they cooperate on investigations.
Fifth, that the CFPM look for ways for the MP members to work with DND’s Directorate of Special Examinations and Investigations (DSEI) in fraud investigations.
The MPCC also made some observations in this case regarding the following matters: note‑taking practices of one of the CFNIS investigators; questionable classifications of investigative activities as administrative activities in the MP investigation file; and the importance of timely identification and notification of all subject MP members by Professional Standards prior to the MPCC review stage of a conduct complaint.
In response to the MPCC’s Report, the CFPM accepted the MPCC’s finding as well as the MPCC’s recommendations.
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