Friday, September 12, 2008


Clouds remain over Victoria police force


Times Colonist has been the best of BC's shabby media in reporting on the Battershill issues. I appreciate that TC re-visited the scene today. But the fact is: they just don't seem to understand that two outstanding careers have been seriously damaged. And that something is owed.

The public has been damaged, too. The B.C. public has suffered another loss of confidence in provincial governance; Victoria has lost an outstanding Chief Constable; and the taxpaying public must pay a fat legal bill ... to achieve ... what? Are the streets safer? Are there fewer homeless on the sidewalks? Are the crooks in jail?

And, really: have the right people been held accountable?? Why aren't the Police Board, and the man who went "fishing" for problems (but didn't find any), and the Mayor answerable for their parts in this imbroglio? All of it leaves the big question unanswered because for some reason, it's never asked: was former Chief Constable Paul Battershill treated fairly? - BC Mary.



Times Colonist - Friday, September 05, 2008

One phase of the Paul Battershill affair might have come to an end, but its effects -- on reputations, on policing and on the department's future -- will linger, a cloud of suspicions and grievances and questions that will hang over the Victoria police force and all involved.

Police Complaint Commissioner Dirk Ryneveld's decision not to hold a public hearing into the allegations against Battershill, who resigned as police chief last month after being suspended with pay for 10 months, removes the last chance to obtain needed answers.

Instead, too many questions remain. The process has not provided the information the public -- and at least some members of the force -- need to maintain confidence in the department, its management and the oversight provided by the Victoria police board.

Ryneveld provides a well-reasoned rationale for not holding a hearing, citing the Police Act.

But the public is still left in the dark about the allegations, how they were handled internally and by the police board and whether these destructive events were avoidable.

{Snip} ...

It is important to note that those allegations were not substantiated by the extensive RCMP investigation.

But the suggestion [by Ryneveld - BCM] is of a deeply divided police department, with senior officers locked in an internal power struggle and a police board oblivious to the worsening problems.

Indeed, Ryneveld suggests the divisions remain and cites them as one reason for not disclosing details of the allegations. "Given the prevailing environment and differing 'camps' that this case has disclosed, I also do not want any of them to face unfair recriminations for making the allegations in the first place," he writes.

The next chief faces a great challenge.

Among the most disturbing aspects of this case is the failure of the police board to provide effective oversight. Reasonable diligence would have raised early questions about severance payments to departing employees, including one that barred the staff member from speaking to the police board about concerns.

And it certainly would have stopped the eight members of the police board from approving Battershill's severance agreement, on Mayor Alan Lowe's recommendation, without even reading the RCMP report. The agreement included a cash payment and a pledge of secrecy. The board's responsibility should have been obvious, given the close working relationship between Lowe and Battershill.

Ryneveld notes that the Police Act requires mayors to be responsible for disciplinary matters involving police chiefs. But as this case shows, the close working relationship between the two offices creates a risk of real and perceived conflicts of interest. That aspect of the law should be changed.

In fact, the almost 11 months it has taken to reach this point -- and the serious questions and problems left unresolved -- should prompt a review of all aspects of the process for dealing with such complaints.


Interesting, Mary...could have been taken, for the most part, from your blog...
I also noticed a little ad in the T/Colonist today for a volunteer person to fill a vacancy on the Victoria Police Board..

Interestingly it also mentioned that the appointed person would have to be approved by the L G in C....
Thanks, G.

hmmmmm .... anybody recall hearing about someone quitting the Victoria Police Board? Who? And why?

Maybe it's because the present Chair is not running for office again and he leaves shortly? Or some other member who might not be running?
Anon 8:39,

You and G West got me thinking. I typed my question into the search box at the top of this page. Out came the desired information ... and I think we can safely say that nobody gets elected, and nobody simply volunteers! Here's how it works:

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.

So it seems safe to say that the "Council appointee (Victoria) ... pending" is the vacancy being advertised.

Think so?

I think not Mary. The Lieutenant-Governor is a YES man to the provincial government. Example: He doesn't write the Throne Speech, he reads it. He may totally disagree with the throne speech but.......

What is the difference between “Lieutenant Governor” and “Lieutenant Governor in Council”?

"Lieutenant Governor” is The Queen’s representative and CEO of the province. The Lieutenant Governor does not get involved in political activity and it is an apolitical position. The Queen is the Head of the Commonwealth and the Canadian Head of State, thus The Queen of Canada. The Lieutenant Governor is appointed by the Governor General, on the advice of the Prime Minister of Canada, for a period of not less than five years.

The Lieutenant Governor is responsible for the following:

Ensuring that the province always has a premier and a government;
Opens, prorogues, and dissolves the Legislature;
Delivers the Speech from the Throne at the opening of each session;
Appoints and swears-in members of the Executive Council (Cabinet) with the advice of the premier;
Gives Royal Assent to all measures and bills passed by the Legislative Assembly;
Signs Orders-in-Council, proclamations, authentications, and other official documents.
Changes to any Office of the Lieutenant Governor may not be made without the unanimous approval of all provincial Legislative Assemblies, the Senate, and the House of Commons.

“Lieutenant Governor in Council” appears in many government documents, such as acts of legislation. Legally, it refers to the Lieutenant Governor acting on and with the advice of the Executive Council or Cabinet. When the Cabinet makes a decision and it has been approved by the Lieutenant Governor, it is said to have been made by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. People wishing the Lieutenant Governor in Council to do something should refer to the appropriate ministry of the provincial government.

In other words, the guy is a puppet.

The BC Liberals can have one of their buddies lodge an official complaint against the VPD without their being any evidence with sole goal of a smear campaign then have the Cabinet put in place another one of their buddies after they have their convention where they discuss amongst themselves how they want to run the Province, Municipalities and Crown Corporations with a heavy dose of ARROGANCE.
I think that's likely the answer...but, the bit at the end about the L G in C makes me wonder

You "think not" what?

If you're responding to my comment, it was:

So it seems safe to say that the "Council appointee (Victoria) ... pending" is the vacancy being advertised.

Agree or disagree?

Looking back at old records it shows Walter Donald, Brian Gibson and Maureen Meikle left the Police Board. It says that Meikle was the Council apponted. That's a lot leavng at once it seems.
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