Monday, August 25, 2008

 

Things every citizen should know ... apparently

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First, I'd like to show you something I came across, while trying to find out what Paul Battershill's speech was about at that Halifax Police Conference where he heard that he was no longer Victoria's Chief Constable. Cruel irony: his speech was about civilian oversight of police services! Here is a small bit of his work history. As I read it, I wondered if the Victoria Police Board really thinks that Victoria and Esquimalt are safer, and better off, without this person:

Paul Battershill bio:

* Appointed as Victoria Police Chief in 1999 following a 23-year career in the Vancouver Police Department,

* Was elected as a police union official in the 1980s at a municipal, provincial and national level,

* was a member of the Justice Oppal Royal Commission of Inquiry into policing in British Columbia in 1993. The Commission's recommendations led to the system of oversight presently in place in B.C.,

* was a founding director of the E-Comm /corporation in the Lower Mainland in 1997. E-Comm established the first integrated multi-agency public safety service in North America which included police, fire and ambulance in wide-area radio, information systems, 911 and post-disaster facilities,

* was Chair of the Steering /committee implementing the PRIME BC police database in B.C.

* was Chair of the RCMP National Forensic Laboratory Committee

* is a member of the Webster Foundation which recognizes outstanding media achievement in B.C.

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Battershill hearing set
date is a secret
Rob Shaw
Times Colonist
- July 23, 2008

The date has been set for a closed-door disciplinary hearing for Victoria's suspended police chief, but the time and location won't be made public for fear the event could turn into a media circus, Victoria's mayor says.

"I can set a disciplinary hearing date, but I don't have to make that date public," Mayor Alan Lowe said yesterday. "And I don't believe I should at this point, to protect the integrity of the hearing and not create a media frenzy prior to."

Lowe said he wants to avoid chief Paul Battershill, and others, from being recorded on camera and asked questions as they walk into the proceedings. He added the public would not be allowed into the hearing anyway, as provincial legislation outlines it should be closed.

Administrative leave meant that Battershill was not allowed to enter the police building. He could not receive e-mails, and his BlackBerry was blocked. It's different from a suspension, Lowe said, noting the term suspension would mean an investigation is underway.

The mayor, who said the board will take no further action until it hears from the chief, did say suspension is a future option. "None of the issues are confirmed. It would be bad faith to discuss anything we have not confirmed," said Lowe. "This came as a surprise to him and to police board members as well." [Gosh. They wouldn't want to be seen as acting in bad faith.]

Yesterday, B.C. Police Complaint Commisioner Dirk Ryneveld confirmed he received a call about the case from Lowe, who was seeking advice about procedures under the Police Act. However, he said there have been no formal complaints made to his office. If one is lodged, it would be investigated by someone of equal rank to the chief.



POLICE BOARD - Who are these people?

The Victoria Police Board currently consists of eight members, including the Chair. Under the British Columbia Police Act, the Mayor of a municipality is always the Chair of the municipal police department. As the VicPD has jurisdiction within two municipalities, Mayor Clement of Esquimalt is the Vice Chair. In addition to Mayors Lowe and Clement, there are six appointed members, five Provincial appointees and one Council Appointee. The Council Appointee (Victoria) is pending.

The 2008 Victoria Police Board is comprised of:
Mayor Lowe of Victoria, Chair
Mayor Clement of Esquimalt, Vice Chair
Ms. Catherine Holt, Provincial Appointee - linked to premier's office
Mr. Ralston Alexander, Provincial Appointee
Ms. Christine Stoneman, Provincial Appointee
Mr. Ken MacLeod, Provincial Appointee
Ms. Lindalee Brougham, Provincial Appointee
Ms. Kathy Mick, Council Appointee (Esquimalt)
Provincial appointees are appointed by the Lieut Governor after consultation with the director of Police Services ... which, of course, puts them beyond the realm of politics. Sure it does.


Only the chair or designate can speak on behalf of the whole board and then only after consensus of the members. Individual board members should refrain from stating opinions ... without the express support of their board.

Section 3.0, Municipal Police Board Legislative Authority. [These are excerpts only, taken from BC Police Board Resource Document on Roles and Responsibilities under Police Act. March 2005]

Municipal police boards are created independently from municipal councils and from the provincial government. This removes boards from partisan council politics and recognizes that both the municipality and the province have legitimate interests in municipal policing.

3.3 Board Accountability:

* to the community they serve: Feedback could be sought on such items as ... what changes citizens feel are needed in response to changing circumstances. Board meetings are open to the public except for "in camera" items.

* to the police dept. ... they must also act as a buffer to ensure that the police are not subject to political interference ...


2.3 Police Board Handbook

... when dealing with policing matters, the [Solicitor General's] Ministry ensures that all decisions and policy directions are legally based, impartial, and free of partisan political considerations.


3.3 Board Accountability


- Board meetings are open to the public
- Senior management of police must act as a buffer to ensure that police are not subject to political interference.

3.4 is important, but a bit long. I urge readers to look it up. Here are more excerpts:


3.5 Individual Responsibilities of Board Members

... all board members have an obligation to seek out the facts and to insist on full and proper discussions related to issues of importance to the community they serve.

- a board member must be a full partner with the Chair and must work with other board members so that the board functions as a UNIT. It should mean that there has been a full debate and that all members are willing to publicly support majority decisions of the board.

- it is imperative that the board take into consideration and respect the role of the Chief Constable when having these discussions.


3.6 Board Member Liability

... protected under Police Act from being held personally liable for actions they take or fail to take, in the performance of their duties ... the exceptions are if the board has been guilty of dishonesty, gross negligence, or malicious or wilful misconduct.

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I regret the loss of the original draft of this presentation, explained earlier, which had much better research references and would have been much easier to follow. Foolishly, I had dumped many of the references and links as I went along, thinking I was being very tidy with my new computer. Ha. So I hope readers will look up the Handbook of the B.C. Police Board Resource Document on Roles and Responsibilities under the Police Act. Or check out Police Services, at the Ministry of the Solicitor General. These documents make it clear what we should expect from a Police Board.

My own conclusion, by the end of this project, is that the Victoria Police Board has a great deal to answer for, to the community they are there to serve. In my opinion, they really didn't give the Chief Constable a fair chance, but seemed to agree to relieve him of his duties while he was out of town on assignment, and allegedly without knowing why they were doing it. Surely they were aware that they were in a high-voltage conflict and that they had an absolute duty to seek careful direction. They owed a duty of care to the Chief Constable who they are pledged to respect. They owed it to the Victoria Police Department who are still on the job and undoubtedly wondering what's next. They owe it now - bigtime - to the uneasy community they are supposed to serve.

But so far as I can see, the Victoria Police Board didn't seek direction. They didn't inform themselves. They didn't assess or discuss the enormous impact of banishing an exemplary Chief of Police.

Then they made it worse. They began to speak one by one, trying to defend themselves, but not Chief Battershill. All of it contrary to the code of ethics set out in the Resource Document. All of it , in my view, sleazy.


Victoria and Esquimalt are not better off without Chief Paul Battershill.

"He's a very bright individual, a thinker," said Wally Oppal, the BC Attorney-General. The Mayor of Victoria said
he "has faith in our chief because he has done a great job for our city. But whenever any allegations come forward, we do have to take them seriously." [CTV 16 Oct 2007]

It's fair to ask: if "partisan political pressures" have been carefully kept at bay, as the Police Board's job descriptions repeat and repeat again, why hasn't the original complainant -- the developer and Liberal Party Election Readiness chairman, Gerald H. Hartwig -- been asked a few pertinent questions?

In fact, isn't every name associated with this story, a person of the Liberal Party persuasion? Except, possibly (I don't know), the name of the former Chief Constable himself? Is that the problem?

Which reminds me, pre-trial hearings for Basi, Virk, Basi resume on September 17. One of the earliest witnesses for the Crown will be Paul Battershill whose Victoria police team followed the drug trafficking investigations right into the Campbell-Liberal government's Ministries of Finance and Transportation, back in 2003. Could that be part of the problem? - BC Mary.

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In an exclusive interview with CTV News on October 16, 2007:

Victoria Police Chief Paul Battershill said he "will fight for his reputation" ... and would "absolutely" defend himself against the allegations.

Battershill has hired a high-priced lawyer to deal with the matter ... the firm where the lawyer works, Heenan Blaikie, was the subject of a break-and-enter last Thursday -- one day after the chief was placed on leave.

"It was unbelievable. I'm hoping it was a weird coincidence," said Mayor Lowe.

The mayor asked the Saanich Police Force to investigate the burglary. Investigators said money, an iPod and a laptop were stolen, while the law firm said the computer contained no files relating to the police chief.


With a report by CTV British Columbia's Rob Brown

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For more about David S. Mulroney: http://www.publiceyeonline.com/archives/000046.html

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Comments:
How frustrating it is to lose hours of work to unexplainable technology. Hope you find it easily. You should be getting paid for all you do.
 
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Thanks 9:41,

I'd sorta like to be paid, someday, by seeing the trains heading north with BC RAIL on each of them, both sides.

That'd do it.

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Mary,
You said you heard Norman Spector say that the raid/investigation to the legislature has NOTHING to do with BC Rail.
Has something changed?
 
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Good grief, 10:08:

Norman Spector may have said that, but words of wisdom they are not.

If you've been paying attention, you know that the Legislature raids led to the discovery of the BC Rail issues.

And no, nothing has changed about that ... except for the current efforts to discredit one of the anticipated Crown witnesses.

I wonder what the oracle has to say about that. Sheesh.

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re You said Mary "I regret the loss of the original draft of this presentation"

Here is the link to the March 2005 handbook BC Police Board Resource Document on Roles and Responsibilities Under the Police Act.

http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/police_services/publications/board/handbook.pdf
 
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