Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board News Advisory - March 27, 2017

Monday, March 27, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, VICTORIA, B.C. 

The Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board (the Board) met this morning and directed the Board’s solicitor to take immediate steps to obtain an Order from the Court (a Writ of Mandamus) directing the Police Complaint Commissioner (PCC) to provide the Board with two documents to which the Board is entitled under the Police Act. At the same time, the Board remains hopeful that it can work with the PCC outside of the Court system to obtain information it requires as the Chief’s employer. 

“As Chief Elsner’s employer, the Board must have this information in order to make informed decisions on behalf of taxpayers. It is irresponsible to make employment decisions based on information in a press release,” said Mayor Lisa Helps, Lead Co-Chair of the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board. 

“It is within the authority of the Police Complaint Commissioner to release the Final Investigation Report along with the full substantiation decision report to the Board. The Chief is our employee. We cannot make decisions about confidence in the Chief, suspension without pay, or any other decisions, without information. We have been kept in the dark which has limited our ability to make informed decisions. 

“Our taxpayers are paying for these reports and having to go to Court to get them we feel is an unnecessary expense. We need this information now and remain hopeful that the Police Complaint Commissioner also has taxpayers interest in mind and will release this report to us without having to undertake Court proceedings. The Police Act provides for him to be helpful and share the information.” 

The Board is seeking the following documents: 

1. A copy of the Final Investigation Report. 

  • This report contains the evidence reviewed by the two Discipline Authorities that has resulted in their determinations to direct 8 out of 11 allegations to two Discipline Proceedings. 
  • The Police Act provides for the PCC to keep the Board informed throughout the investigation, and enables the PCC to share the Final Investigation Report with the Board. The PCC has used his discretion under the Police Act and refused all requests from the Board to receive this critical information regarding the alleged misconduct of our employee. 
  • Without the ability to review the evidence in the Final Investigation Report, the Board is unable to make employment decisions based on the contents of the PCC’s media statement. 

2. A copy of the Discipline Authorities’ decisions which by statute are required to include: 

  • Whether or not they find each allegation to be substantiated; 
  • Some information on ‘next steps’; 
  • And most importantly, the range of disciplinary or corrective measures being considered in the case. 
  • The range of disciplinary or corrective measures being considered is extremely important in that it would provide an insight into where the allegations sit on the continuum of seriousness in the view of the retired Judges. 

Background: 

On March 21, the Board met and directed our Counsel to continue to try to obtain the Final Investigation Report. We authorized Counsel to prepare and file a Writ of Mandamus at his discretion. 

On March 23, the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner released a media statement wherein the PCC released part of the decisions of the two retired Judges. He released only the part of those decisions dealing with whether the allegations were found to be substantiated to the point that a hearing into the allegations was appropriate. Eight of eleven allegations were found to meet that threshold. 

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Media may contact: 

Lead Co-Chair, Lisa Helps,