Senior VPD officer suspended for disclosing sensitive information
A senior officer in the Vancouver Police Department has been suspended for accessing and disclosing sensitive information related to a minor.
British Colubmia's Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner announced the disciplinary decision on Tuesday, though it was handed down by an independent adjudicator on July 18.
According to the OPCC, the officer accessed the information for "a personal purpose" and disclosed it to "unauthorized persons." At least some of the information the officer shared was protected by the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA).
The adjudicator imposed three, five-day suspensions on the officer, who has not been named in order to protect the identity of the young person involved in the case.
Andrea Spindler, the deputy police complaints commissioner, told the Canadian Press the officer's suspensions will be served concurrently, meaning he or she will only be off the job for five days, but the record will show three suspensions have been served.
In issuing the suspensions, the adjudicator concluded that "the seriousness of this misconduct by a senior officer, particularly where much of the subject matter is data protected by the YCJA, merits discipline that will serve as a deterrence to other members," according to the OPCC.
The adjudicator also recommended that VPD Chief Const. Adam Palmer place a "renewed focus" on training related to police databases and the disclosure of information.
“Police are entrusted with sensitive data about British Columbians and must adhere to strict rules in its use and disclosure," Police Complaint Commissioner Clayton Pecknold said in his office's release on the matter.
"Where a police officer disregards those rules purposefully, the public must be assured that serious consequences will result and appropriate steps will be taken to prevent recurrence. While a senior police officer has been disciplined, I also recommend all Chief Constables and Police Boards review this decision carefully and ensure their protection of information policies are robust and current," Pecknold said.
The OPCC gave no additional details about the nature of the information the officer disclosed, but the file number associated with the decision suggests it stemmed from an incident that took place in 2017.
The Police Complaint Commissioner is an independent, civilian officer of the B.C. legislature. His office is responsible for overseeing complaints, investigations, and discipline involving municipal police forces in British Columbia.
With files from the Canadian Press