In late summer of 2003 I was a Police Sergeant at Hampstead Police Station, London. Two officers, both veterans, but far from retirement were offering particular concern. They were allowing their work load to become the problem of younger officers, just not pulling their weight. On an unusually quiet shift and in a feeble attempt to make a point I sent them out to get tickets. They returned at the end of their shift with five in hand. I told them to put them on my desk and I would sign off on them the next shift.
The next day I examined the tickets and subsequently booked on lunch, driving up to Highgate cemetery. I checked off five graves in a row, and all names matched perfectly with the tickets. I’m not the best Detective in the world, but had serious misgivings ‘Karl Marx’ had actually contravened the bus lane on Finchley Rd having died in the late 1800’s, and dumb and dumber just lifted the names of the head stones directly next to his. They couldn’t even be bothered to fabricate new birth dates, just changed the year. Words were had, panicked excuses were made and I made the executive decision that because the tickets had not been submitted to the courts, no criminal offence had taken place. I also gave them written warnings as a dispensation.
Forward almost 15 years and 3,000 miles across the Atlantic. In September 2014 a source confided in me how several officers from Hamilton Police Service renowned, ‘award winning’ ACTION Team had been caught fabricating Provincial Offences Notices (PON). The then Chief, Glenn De Caire, a staunch proponent of not only charging officer’s for misconduct, but outing them to the media whether guilty or not, decided the good work done by the ACTION Team (his pet project) far outweighed the criminality on the part of his officer’s. Therefore he decided to make these acts of ‘criminal malfeasance’ nothing more than a ‘training issue’; safeguarding the reputation ACTION had built. Senior officers were told never to speak of matters, and any breach of that confidentiality would meet with Police Service Act charges.
Subsequently, an unknown source contacted local media, furnishing all salient facts in this case. HPS were forced to give validation the incident had occurred as described and unavoidably found themselves on an investigative path, and a course of action they historically tend to shy away from. ‘Doing the right thing’. De Caire stated he was “absolutely committed” to investigating potential misconduct in the force, but this ‘positive’ statement has to be weighed against the fact he and his deputies had already tried to cover-up the same. The inquiry was given to an officer whose own credibility I have questioned several times in the past, however, that officers finding resulted in over 65 criminal charges against five HPS officers.
The only deceived party in the 2003 event was myself, and not unlawfully so. Allegedly, the victims of HPS deception were very much alive. You would think these allegations could get no worse, but we are faced with the clear and aggravated fact, those ‘victims of crime’ were from a marginalized population. ‘The Action Five’ used police computers to select members of the community who had repeated contact with authorities because of their various mental health ailments. The thought process being these individuals had so many outstanding issues they would not notice another and just assume the ticket was theirs. If these allegations are found true it would mean five seasoned officers conspired to commit criminal offences for which they knew they could and possibly will be incarcerated, for no other reason to impress Senior Management.
In March, 2016 an internal investigation began in Ottawa Police Service. Eleven officers this time were under investigation, again accused of falsely increasing their warning tickets by issuing to people who just didn’t exist. The difference here, Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau not only instigated an investigation into this transgression, but also had the fortitude to highlight motive by saying, “Potentially, it was to boost their stats for potential transfers or for their performance appraisals”. This motive could have backfired, providing a mitigating factor of duress. The issue would become the undue pressure placed on Constables with ticket quotas most Senior Management Teams still deny exist, rather than the clear lack of integrity on the part of sworn Police Officers.
I’m not excusing officer behavior and saying they were ‘bullied’ into acts of criminality. In fact, their disgusting comportment is compounded by the fact all involved obviously collaborated to break the law and target a populous with a diminished capacity. The question I would ask is if they’re willing to lie to issue a simple offence ticket, what lows would they sink to convict a pedophile or a murderer? All sixteen officers mentioned in this article are now useless as Law Enforcement Peace Officer even if found not guilty. In any future court hearing a semi-decent, third year law student intern with a reasonable grasp of the English language could plant the seed of ‘reasonable doubt’ in the mind of a jury in a trial where these officers were summoned to give evidence.
I strongly condemn the cowardice of Policing Senior Management Teams who continuously try to hide wrongdoing, in a vain attempt to further their own
political agendas by showing they can ‘sail their ship’ without issue. Members of the public are aware bad people are going to slip through the cracks of any recruitment program, and accept that some people will use public office to do wrong. What they find condescending is the continuous hiding of the same, and that misfeasance erodes public trust. Hamilton Police under DeCaire and Mullen before attempted to hide the wrongdoing of Wills, Hansen, Ruthowsky, Matthews, Dinsa, ‘The Action Five’ and the scores of officers involved in the use and supply of steroids as part of Project Newton. These are the ones we know about. What else is yet to be uncovered?