Conduct Case MPCC‑2017‑011 Summary
The complaint arose from an occurrence in March 2016 at a Canadian Forces base (CFB). Around 2:00 a.m., the morning of the incident, the complainant, a civilian, arrived at her home after having finished her work shift. A few short minutes later, she left her house on foot to go have a coffee at a restaurant near her house. Upon her return from the restaurant, the complainant realized that she did not have her house key and was locked out. She unsuccessfully tried knocking and ringing the bell a few times, but her family members were sleeping. The complainant’s cell phone battery also had no charge.
Around 5:00 a.m., the complainant started feeling the effects of the cold. She therefore decided to start walking to warm up and find help. She walked in the direction of the CFB in question, and eventually toward the base’s military police station (hereinafter the MP station).
Around 5:30 a.m., the complainant arrived at the MP station, in the middle of a shift change. Two military police members (MPs) working the night shift allegedly opened the door and brought her into the MP station’s waiting room. The complainant alleges in her complaint that she immediately asked the MPs if she could make a telephone call. She alleged that when she told the first MP that she was cold, showing him her stiff hands, he made derogatory remarks about her and told her that he could not do anything for her. The complainant indicated that the second MP was present at the time.
Following this episode, the two MPs from the night shift left the waiting room, after having tried to understand what had happened and after explaining to the complainant that they were in the middle of a shift change and they had to go disarm, but that they would return to speak to her shortly. The two MPs left the room and met the two female MPs from the day shift in another room in order to conduct the shift change. The two MPs allegedly informed the two female MPs about the complainant’s presence at the MP station and provided them with a summary of the situation. Next, the two MPs reportedly introduced the two female MPs from the day shift to the complainant and explained to her that they would help her. The two MPs then left the premises.
In her complaint, the complainant stated that the two female MPs from the day shift drove her back to her home in their police vehicles, but only after suggesting they drive her back to the restaurant where she had had a coffee earlier that morning so she could return home on foot. The two female MPs from the day shift escorted the complainant to her home around 6:00 a.m. the same day and did so in the company of a civilian trainee who was participating in a MP ride-a-long program at the time of the incident.
In March 2017, the complainant filed a conduct complaint directly with the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM). The CFPM delegate responsible for Professional Standards (PS), and who is the initial authority for conduct complaints, is the Deputy Commander of the Canadian Forces Military Police Group (CF MP Gp). In her complaint, the complainant alleged that the first MP from the night shift as well as the two female MPs of the day shift had been disrespectful, impatient, and negligent and apparently had made derogatory comments about her when she went to the MP station to obtain help the morning of the incident in question. In addition, the complainant alleged that other MPs, whose names she did not know, had made derogatory comments about her while she was at the MP station the morning of the incident in question.
In September 2017, the Deputy Commander of the CF MP Gp reported the findings of the investigation and how the complaint had been resolved. He deemed that all the allegations were unsubstantiated. However, observations were noted by PS in the course of their investigation, namely, that the MP members involved, including the civilian trainee, had not taken any notes in their notebooks about this matter. Furthermore, PS observed that the two female MPs from the day shift drove the complainant back to her home, but no Mobile Video Recording System (MVRS) was found on this point.
As a follow-up to these observations, the Deputy Commander of the CF MP Gp forwarded a letter containing recommendations in September 2017 to the attention of the chain of command of the MPs in question. In his letter, the Deputy Commander asked that the chain of command take the necessary steps to make sure that the MPs in question carry out their duties in strict compliance with the MP orders and policies. It should be noted that in July 2018, the Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC) received a letter from the officer in charge of PS advising that the chain of command of the MPs in question had informed the PS office that the MPs had reviewed and know their obligations regarding the MP orders and policies, namely with regard to notetaking and that the MVRS must be functional and activated on any occasion where the use of the audio and video recording would be beneficial.
In October 2017, the MPCC received a letter from the complainant in which she requested the MPCC review her conduct complaint. It should be noted that during her interview with the MPCC investigators in September 2018, the complainant identified for the first time the other MPs who had allegedly made derogatory comments about her while she was at the MP station the morning of the incident in question. Initially, in her complaint filed in March 2017, the complainant had indicated that she did not know their names. Further to this new information, the second MP from the night shift was added as a subject of the complaint as part of the MPCC review.
After review and investigation, the MPCC found that the allegations against the four MP members who were the subject of the complaint were unsubstantiated. The MPCC deemed that the evidence gathered from the witnesses, including the complainant and the four subject MPs, did not support the conclusion that the subject MPs had been negligent and disrespectful to the complainant when she went to the MP station to obtain help the morning of the incident in question.
Furthermore, the MPCC indicated that it supported all the observations made by PS in their investigation and the recommendations made by the Deputy Commander of the CF MP Gp in response to these observations. The MPCC stated that it was pleased to note that actions had been taken by the chain of command of the MPs involved in this matter. Consequently, in this case, the MPCC felt that it was not necessary to make recommendations regarding notetaking or MVRS use as part of its review given that these issues had already been addressed during the PS investigation and actions had been taken by the chain of command of the MPs in question. Nevertheless, the MPCC made the observation that notetaking is part of the training of civilian or military trainees and therefore, members of the MP who are responsible for the training of trainees who participate in the MP ride-a-long program should encourage trainees to take notes in their notebooks. The trainees may be called on as witnesses in conduct complaints or other, as was the case in this review.
In response to the MPCC’s interim report, the MPCC notes that the CFPM has accepted all the MPCC’s findings and observation regarding this complaint.
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