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VPD officers made, shared video that 'ridiculed' sexual harassment investigations: OPCC report

A Vancouver Police Department patch is seen on an officer's uniform. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck A Vancouver Police Department patch is seen on an officer's uniform. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
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Members of the Vancouver Police Department created and shared "a video appearing to ridicule and minimize the severity of sexual harassment investigations ongoing within the VPD," according to a report from the province's police watchdog.

Information about the investigation into the video and the ensuing recommendations to the police board is summarized in the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner's 2021/2022 annual report, which was released and tabled in the legislature Tuesday. It does not specify when the video was made, nor does it provide details about its contents. It also does not say how many officers were involved or what disciplinary measures they faced.

According to the report, the video was alleged to have been made "using police equipment and/or facilities." During the investigation, the OPCC found that it had been "disseminated to numerous VPD officers, including a supervisor who did not take sufficient action in response." Further, it found that "the investigation highlighted a concerning attitude of dismissing very troubling and misogynistic behavior as 'black humour.’”

An appendix to the report indicates the video was made and distributed in 2019. Two officers, while on a break and in uniform, recorded it in an interview room at the Cambie Street station, the document says.

Making the video was found to constitute discreditable conduct, and the pair were each suspended for five days without pay, ordered to review the department's respectful workplace policy, and required to take an online course. Using police equipment was found to have been an instance of corrupt practice, and for that, each officer received a written reprimand.

An additional officer who forwarded the video "was given a written reprimand. A supervisor who forwarded the video and did not report it was found to have committed two acts of misconduct, and given a one-day suspension for each act of misconduct. He was given a one-day, unpaid suspension for each count, to be served concurrently

The OPCC recommended that the Vancouver Police Board review the completed misconduct investigation and consider how the "cultural factors" at play in the department may have contributed to it being created, shared, and minimized.

"The use of VPD facilities to create the video and the sharing of the video appeared to reveal a gap in workplace policies and cultural considerations that the OPCC assessed as needing further scrutiny by the board," the report said.

In addition, the board was asked to review the force's training, policies and procedures "with respect to respectful workplace behavior" and to develop or revise them in order to "ensure matters such as this are appropriately captured and addressed."

For its part, the board took "immediate and comprehensive actions," according to the OPCC. The matter was referred to the human resources committee, which prepared a report and recommendations, and a motion was passed requiring the department to provide the board with internal statistics about harassment complaints.

The summary of the complaint is in a section of the OPCC report that outlines recommendations made to police boards that deal with potentially systemic issues rather than individual complaints. The goal of these recommendations, the report says, is "preventing the recurrence of police misconduct that may have contributed to a complaint or an investigation."

CTV News has reached out to the Vancouver Police Department and the Vancouver Police Board for more information. This story will be updated if a response is received. 

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