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Delta, B.C., police hold back info on PR firm hired after allegations against chief’s wife

Click to play video: 'Delta Police won’t reveal costs of hiring PR firm after police chief’s wife hosing incident' Delta Police won’t reveal costs of hiring PR firm after police chief’s wife hosing incident
A longtime Delta politician is questioning the secrecy surrounding the hiring of a PR firm during a recent scandal involving the police chief's wife. Global News filed a freedom of information request to find out how much this cost taxpayers but as Catherine Urquhart reports, we got few answers – Feb 2, 2021

The Delta Police Department is refusing to disclose details surrounding the hiring of a public relations firm last year to deal with a scandal involving the wife of the city’s police chief.

The crisis management team was brought on board when Chief Neil Dubord’s wife Lorraine was being investigated for hosing down Surrey resident Kiran Sidhu at her beachfront property last year.

Read more: Involvement of high-profile former Mountie in Delta, B.C. hose-spraying incident raises eyebrows

Global News requested information on the contract through a Freedom of Information application. Delta Police responded saying they have 19 related pages, but added those pages won’t be released due to privacy concerns.

“A review of the records reveals that they contain commercial and financial information of a third party … that was supplied in confidence and the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to harm significantly the competitive position of the third party,” the department explained.

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An earlier letter from the department told Global News it would reach out to the public relations firm and give them an opportunity to approve the pages’ release.

Click to play video: 'OPPC investigation extended into Delta police chief’s wife assault complaint' OPPC investigation extended into Delta police chief’s wife assault complaint
OPPC investigation extended into Delta police chief’s wife assault complaint – Jan 7, 2021

Delta councillor Lois Jackson told Global News she wanted to see more transparency from the police department on whether “many” extra funds were spent to retain the firm.

“If there weren’t that’s fine. But we are entitled to an answer,” she said.

Jackson said she plans to bring the matter to the attention of city council in an effort to get some answers for herself and Delta taxpayers.

Read more: Police chief in Delta, B.C., breaks silence on allegations of racism, assault against wife

The police department came under fire for how it handled its initial investigation after Lorraine Dubord was caught on video yelling at Sidhu from her property on Centennial Beach on June 6, 2020.

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Sidhu told Global News she had climbed the rocks in front of the home to escape a rising tide. When she touched a fence, she alleges Dubord yelled at her, compared her to a beached whale, and sprayed her in the face with a hose.

Sidhu told Global News there were multiple people crossing the rocks at the time, but that she was the only one singled out for abuse.

Surrey RCMP launched an independent criminal investigation into the incident and ultimately recommended charges of uttering threats and assault.

Click to play video: 'More information on investigation into conduct of Delta Police in complaint against chief’s wife' More information on investigation into conduct of Delta Police in complaint against chief’s wife
More information on investigation into conduct of Delta Police in complaint against chief’s wife – Oct 16, 2020

However, the B.C. Prosecution Service in September said it had opted instead to pursue “alternative measures,” an option commonly given to young offenders or adults with no criminal history in which they accept responsibility for the crime and make amends.

The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner in January extended its ongoing investigation into how the Delta police handled the original complaint.

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Lorraine Dubord has issued an apology in the Delta Optimist for “the way the situation was handled.”

Neil Dubord has also promised he and the department would “continue to listen, learn, and improve,” and told the public at a police board meeting in late June that the incident did not reflect his own values.

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