Conduct Case Summary MPCC‑2017‑031

In July 2017, the Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC) received a complaint regarding the conduct of a Military Police (MP) member at a controlled access area. The full extent of the complaint was that the complainant’s military ID (NDI 21) was confiscated and later destroyed, while the complainant was still an employee of the Department of National Defence.

The complainant entered a Defence establishment and presented his pass to gain entry. He found that he was denied entry. Control staff at the entry point contacted the MP as directed. The MP member was summoned to the access point and, upon reviewing the directions specified within the pass control system, confiscated the complainant’s building pass as well as his employee identification card. The MP member advised the complainant that he would not be allowed to enter the property until he spoke to his workplace manager.

In July 2017, the MPCC forwarded the complaint to the Canadian Forces Military Police Group (CF MP Gp), Professional Standards (PS) for investigation pursuant to subsection 250.26(1) of the National Defence Act (NDA).

In August 2017, the Deputy Commander, CF MP Gp, wrote to all parties setting out the relevant portion of section 8 of the Defence Controlled Access Area Regulations, (SOR/86-957) (DCAAR), enacted pursuant to the NDA. The DCAAR require that every person to whom a pass is granted to enter a controlled access area shall surrender it to any security guard (which is defined as including Military Police members) and immediately leave the controlled access area on the demand of the security guard. In his decision, the Deputy Commander concluded that the MP member was clearly acting within the scope of his authority and there was no evidence of misconduct on his part. He then cited paragraph 250.28(2)(c) of the NDA, which states that the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal may direct that an investigation be ended if it is not necessary. The conclusion was that no further investigation was necessary.

In October 2017, the complainant requested that the MPCC review the decision pursuant to subsection 250.31(1) of the NDA. In his request for review, the complainant argued that PS cannot rely on section 8 of the DCAAR as the NDI 21 is not a “pass”. He also stated that section 8, part (d) referred to a pass that was revoked or expired and he claimed that his pass was not revoked nor was it expired. He also claimed that nothing in the Deputy Commander’s letter explained if, in fact, his NDI 21 (which he said was not a pass) was revoked or had expired. He further claimed he was not in a controlled access area, another reason why section 8 of the DCAAR did not apply.

The MPCC has concluded that the MP member was carrying out a security duty, not a “policing duty or function” as defined in subsection 250.18(1) of the NDA and the Regulations. He was seeing to the security of personnel and materiel and was also carrying out a security function in seizing the building access pass and the NDI 21 identification card.  In fact, section 8, part c of the DCAAR refers to the MP member’s role in the following terms: “Every person to whom a pass is granted…shall surrender it to any security guard and immediately leave the controlled access area on the demand of the security guard.”

The MPCC considers that the MP member’s actions that day fall under the excluded category of “military operations that result from established military custom or practice” and therefore is not a policing duty or function. Safeguarding the security of a military establishment has traditionally been a military police security responsibility. The types of duties carried out by the Military Police are outlined in the March 1997 Report of the Special Advisory Group on Military Justice and Military Police Investigation Services. Known as the ‘Dickson Report’, this report assessed the roles and functions of the Military Police which found that the Military Police have very broad responsibilities which can be broken down into four core areas: police duties, security duties, custodial duties and direct support to military operations. The security duties of the Military Police include those of security of personnel, materiel, information and information technology and those related to military intelligence.

As such, the MPCC concluded that it does not have jurisdiction to review the conduct of the MP member in this instance.

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