Letter of observation #2
This file is not a review pursuant to subsection 250.31(1) of the National Defence Act (“
NDA”) but rather the result of a request from the Chairperson pursuant to subsection 250.25 of the NDA for information and materials in order to monitor the handling of a conduct complaint by the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal. The Chairperson hopes that her observations will be useful during future investigations under Part IV of the NDA.
Summary of the Complaint
A conduct complaint was filed against a Military Police member alleging that the member breached service regulations by conducting a canine drug demonstration in the barracks despite the fact the he had been previously advised that he could not do so without prior approval from the Base Provost Marshal. The demonstration allegedly constituted an unlawful search of the barracks and other buildings.
The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) investigation determined that no criminal or service offence was committed and that the elements necessary for charges under sections 124 and/or 129 of the NDA were not present. The investigation found that the dog demonstration /search was not illegal because it occurred only in public areas of the building and recommended that the matter be dealt with administratively.
The Deputy Provost Marshal Professional Standards
The Deputy Provost Marshal Professional Standards identified and investigated the following allegations against the Military Police member:
That he knowingly suppressed, misrepresented of falsified information in a report or statement;
That he knowingly and improperly interfered with the conduct of an investigation; and
That he engaged in conduct that is likely to discredit the Military Police or that called into question the member's ability to carry out their duties in a faithful and impartial manner
The Professional Standards Investigation did not support any of the allegations and concluded that there had been a misunderstanding between the Chain of Command and the Military Police Detachment and the conduct complaint was the result of this misunderstanding. The investigator recommended that the Military Police Detachment review its procedures and address any issues that exist between the organizations on the base.
Observations of the Chairperson
There appears to be some conflict in the interaction between the Military Police Detachment and the military unit. This conflict seems to be the result of the Military Police reporting structure (the Chain of Command) that can potentially cause confusion and ambiguity. The Chairperson noted that existing policies should be revised to ensure that the reporting/command structures are clear and adequate and that protocols and directives are in place and are followed.
It appears that the canine drug demonstration / search was intended to deter soldiers from using drugs and to send a clear message that drugs would not be tolerated. In this instance the use of the term “
Demonstration” may not be appropriate as “
demonstration” normally implies a practical exhibition or explanation of something. Here it would appear that a “
demonstration” conducted in a barracks without notifying the inhabitants was clearly meant as a deterrent or as a fear tactic, and falls short of the intent of a demonstration intended to show the dog's capabilities. While this seems to be a question of semantics, in the Chairperson's view the appropriateness of such an operation or exercise should be reviewed.
The Deputy Provost Marshal Professional Standard's Final Letter of Disposition concluded that none of the allegations against the Military Police subject member were supported. The Chairperson concurs and supports the finding and recommendations relating to this conduct complaint; however, in her opinion, details and information should have been provided to the complainant and to the subject member. Clarifying information would ensure that all parties involved obtain sufficient information to understand not only the outcome of the investigation but also how and based on what information the investigative findings / recommendations were made.
In the Chairperson's opinion, the Deputy Provost Marshal Professional Standards investigator conducted a professional, thorough and objective investigation into the complaint. This particular complaint serves as a good example in demonstrating that the complaints process is effective and can work to benefit everyone.
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