Complaints Commission Releases Report on Incident in Cells at the Kamloops, B.C., RCMP Detachment
Mr. Ian McPhail, the Interim Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP (Commission), today released the Commission's report on its investigation of the conduct of RCMP members involved in the monitoring of two female prisoners who engaged in sexual activity while in custody at the Kamloops RCMP Detachment cells in British Columbia, on August 18, 2010.
The Commission's investigation, launched September 28, 2010, responded to a complaint by the Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver, which alleged that "senior staff at the detachment failed to manage personnel responsibly, and were complacent in the care and custody of inmates."
"The Commission found that, by allowing the physical contact between the two individuals in custody to continue and engaging in voyeuristic behaviour, the RCMP members demonstrated a lack of professionalism and respect that not only offended the spirit of the RCMP's policy on video monitoring of prisoners but was inconsistent with the RCMP's core values," said Mr. McPhail. "Further, we found that the senior member present demonstrated a marked lack of leadership by failing to intervene."
The Commission's investigation also revealed that there were inconsistencies in the interpretation of the RCMP's external investigation policy and a failure to recognize issues that could lead to the perception of bias in situations where the RCMP is investigating its own members. These concerns aside, the Commission found that the RCMP's response to the incident and its criminal investigation into the conduct of the members involved were reasonable, timely and thorough.
The Commission made four recommendations, including that the RCMP consider amending its policy to provide guidance as to when circumstances are "serious or sensitive" and consequently, where investigation by an external agency is appropriate.
While Commissioner Paulson agreed with the Commission's findings, he rejected the Commission's call for greater guidance as to what constitutes a "serious or sensitive" matter. The Commissioner accepted the balance of the Commission's recommendations.
It should be noted that the Commission's findings and recommendations are independent of the criminal proceeding underway in this matter. The Commission's mandate is remedial in nature and does not address criminal or civil liability.
The full report, including all the Commission's findings and recommendations, can be found on the Commission's website.
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