17 members of the Abbotsford Police Department are facing 148 allegations of misconduct, with one constable already criminally charged and the remaining 16 under investigation.
The officers are the subject of an investigation about problems with sworn statements made to obtain search warrants, according to the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner (OPCC).
Chief Constable Bob Rich of the APD learned of allegations Const. Christopher Nicholson of the APD was engaged in criminal activity in 2013, and Rich obtained the aid of the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) to conduct an external criminal investigation into those claims.
As a result, Nicholson was arrested in May 2013 and was charged with breach of trust, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to traffic a controlled substance.
The scope of the investigation was broadened upon discovery of information implicating an additional 16 members of the APD. Those allegations of misconduct include Corrupt Practice, Deceit and Neglect of Duty pursuant to the Police Act.
The OPCC notes that the allegations are “serious in nature,” and put in jeopardy the “integrity of statements that were provided by police officers to judicial officers pursuant to the authorization process for search warrants.”
An ongoing concern for the OPCC is to what extent the search warrants in question may have led to “potentially unsafe prosecutions.”
The investigation is hampered by what the OPCC says is the “sheer magnitude of the investigative materials,” with administrative issues leading to a stall in the OPCC getting information from police.
The OPCC says they’ve opted to wait until now to reveal the investigation to the public due to the sensitivity of the matter. Further, the OPCC indicates they are in the preliminary stages of what promises to be a long process, but plans to release of summary of their findings to the public once the process comes to a close.
Featured image: British Columbia Emergency Photography/Flickr