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Manitoba investigators to probe disturbing allegations at B.C. police undercover training course

Click to play video: 'Investigation into officer behaviour at a training session could result in a criminal investigation'
Investigation into officer behaviour at a training session could result in a criminal investigation
On Monday, a Global News investigation outlined how the province's police watchdog is investigating a training course at the Wall Centre where municipal officers allegedly engaged in some untoward behaviour. B.C.'s Solicitor General is now saying if the out-of-province investigating agency uncovers anything criminal, it would trigger a separate criminal investigation. Catherine Urquhart reports. ** Warning: Details maybe disturbing to some viewers** – May 31, 2022

British Columbia’s police oversight agency has confirmed an investigation into 19 officers from eight B.C. municipal police departments, over alleged conduct at an undercover training course.

The probe involves members from the Abbotsford Police Department, Vancouver Police Department, New Westminster Police Department, Delta Police Department, Surrey Police Service, Saanich Police Department, Metro Vancouver Transit Police and Victoria Police Department.

Read more: ‘Appalling’ allegations at B.C. police undercover training course prompt investigation

The Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner said Manitoba’s Independent Investigation Unit has been tapped to lead the investigation, while West Vancouver Police Chief John Lo has been appointed as discipline authority.

“Due to the number of municipal agencies involved in this matter and the serious nature of the alleged misconduct, the OPCC has employed an infrequently used provision in the Police Act to seek the appointment of one or more Special Provincial Constables to complete this investigation independent of any BC police agencies,” the OPCC said in a media release.

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Global News first reported allegations linked to the course in May.

Read more: Watchdog calls for further probe after video shows Vancouver cop shoving man to the ground

Sources told Global News that the officers were participating in an undercover training course operated by the Association of Municipal Police Chiefs of B.C. at a downtown Vancouver hotel.

Click to play video: 'Global BC investigation uncovers disturbing allegations involving a number of police agencies in this province'
Global BC investigation uncovers disturbing allegations involving a number of police agencies in this province

Officers were asked to role-play and show how they might prove they weren’t police in situations while acting undercover, sources said.

In one instance, this allegedly involved defecation on another person, food used in a sexual manner, and other even more perverse acts, sources said.

At the time, B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth described the alleged conduct as “disgusting” and “appalling.”

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Read more: Two Vancouver police officers found ‘reckless’ for use of force during 2016 wellness check

The OPCC described the alleged conduct as “serious and concerning,” adding that the investigation will include officers who were candidates in the course as well as officers in supervisory roles.

The matter came to the OPCC’s attention after RCMP officers who were present in an observer role reported it, it said.

The investigation will look into whether officers’ committed misconduct under the Police Act. None of the allegations have been proven.

— with files from Catherine Urquhart

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