FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, VICTORIA, B.C.
The Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board (the Board) met yesterday afternoon to review the Police Complaint Commissioner’s Orders for External Investigations including the Designation of New Discipline Authorities in relation to alleged conduct of Chief Constable Frank Elsner.
The Board will cooperate fully with the External Investigations ordered by the Commissioner. Maintaining public confidence in the investigation of alleged misconduct is a priority for the Board.
There will be no further comment from the Board Co-Chairs on these matters. It would be inappropriate to do so as the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) has ordered External Investigations and designated new Disciplinary Authorities. Any questions regarding these matters and process should now be directed to the OPCC. The Board supports the Commissioner’s request that the public not rush to judgment or engage in speculation, and to allow these new investigations to proceed respecting the interests of those directly affected by this matter and their families.
Chief Constable Frank Elsner advised the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board on December 18, 2015 that he would voluntarily step aside until the investigations have completed. Deputy Chief Del Manak has assumed the role of Acting-Chief and he has the complete confidence of the Board in his ability to provide leadership to the members of the Victoria Police Department whose responsibility it is to safeguard the public.
Public safety has not been compromised during this process and the Board is confident that community police services continue to be provided with the highest degree of professionalism throughout our communities.
The British Columbia Police Act provides that Police Board Chairs (not the full Board) are the Disciplinary Authority when it comes to an investigation of a Chief Constable.
Acting upon information received regarding the conduct of Chief Constable Elsner, the Disciplinary Authority immediately retained legal counsel who, in turn, sought direction from the OPCC.
Upon the advice of legal counsel and with the approval of the OPCC, an independent investigator was appointed to conduct an internal disciplinary investigation. The Commissioner confirmed at that time that the matter should proceed through the internal disciplinary process.
The internal investigation was conducted by legal counsel and the independent investigator reporting to the Disciplinary Authority.
Last week, the Commissioner expressed concerns with the process and designated new Discipline Authorities to undertake External investigations. The Board respects the authority of the OPCC and will cooperate fully in the investigations.
By statute under the British Columbia Police Act the Mayor Helps and Mayor Desjardins continue as Co-Chairs of the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board. The responsibility of the Board is to ensure the effective provision of quality police and law enforcement services for the municipalities of Esquimalt and Victoria.
There will be no media availability with the Co-Chairs of the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board as per the statements above. The Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) has ordered External Investigations and designated new Disciplinary Authorities. Any questions regarding the new investigation and process should be directed to the OPCC.
Should you require further clarification, please contact: Kathi Springer Pace Group: 250-888-8767