Sunday, September 28, 2008


Victoria Police Board's Letter-to-the-Editor

Search for a new chief adheres to established process and is not politically driven

From the Victoria Police Board
Times Colonist - Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Victoria Police Board does not usually communicate through letters to the editor. Recent events and media coverage of the board suggest that a response is appropriate.

We have been variously cast as everything from rubber stamping all decisions of an uncommunicative chair, Mayor Alan Lowe, to incompetent amateurs, dabbling in worldly affairs where we lack expertise. ("Civilian oversight lacking: experts," Sept. 21.)

The extensive coverage of the Paul Battershill story has regrettably missed several foundational characteristics of the circumstances that must be aired.

{Snip} ...

We finally note the suggestion that the hiring of a new chief should be delayed until a "new" police board is in place. The suggestion is absurd. There is no "new board" in the works. The chair will change with the election of the successor to Lowe. The vice-chair is seeking re-election in Esquimalt. A new member has been appointed by provincial order in council to begin in January, replacing a board member who is completing his term. The remainder of the existing board will continue to serve until the end of their respective terms.

The process and timelines of the search committee are not politically driven, but rather follow an established process used by other agencies seeking to replace a chief constable. Furthermore, the process is led by the human resources committee, on which neither the chair nor the vice-chair of the board serve. Continuing this process in a timely manner is the most responsible course of action.

What is missed in all of this is that the citizens of Victoria and Esquimalt continue to be served by a strongly committed and dedicated police force whose hard work is all too often taken for granted or dismissed by the same media.

The police board is proud to congratulate the men and women of the department for their steadfast attention to duty during these very difficult times.

This submission was prepared on behalf of the police board by the following board members: Ralston Alexander, Lindalee Brougham, Catherine Holt, Ken MacLeod, Kathy Mick and Christine Stoneman.


Perhaps others can help me understand what these six Victoria Police Board members are getting at. "We have no role in discipline matters," says their letter-to-the-editor. Is this code, or something? Was someone found guilty of something and left unpunished? What are they talking about?

Rob Shaw's article in Times Colonist Sept. 21, 2008 spoke of the Police Board seeming unaware of the personnel problems within VicPD. This is the important issue; but their letter evades it. As if they still don't recognize that duty. .

Another example, this self-serving line: "The process and timelines of the search committee are not politically driven ..." That's almost unbelievable, in a town like Victoria, in a province like B.C. Then they use a word like "absurd" to describe the legitimate concerns of the public. This is from the "Me=good, you=bad" school of brainless debate.

I think I'd rather have seen a reasoned statement written by one of their lawyers on behalf of these six people. I think I'd rather know that Times Colonist had taken them seriously enough to invite them to comment as an editorial. I don't feel one whit better after seeing this response from the Victoria Police Board.

Something is lacking. - BC Mary


That which is missing from this Letter to the Editor from the majority of votes on the Victoria Police board is covered by the BC Police Act's CODE OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT REGULATION , specifically items "c" and "d":


2 The purposes of this Code are

(a) to establish a code of conduct that is applicable to and acts as a general guide for police officers in the performance of their duties and functions respecting the preservation of peace, the prevention of crime and offences against the law and the administration of justice assigned to peace officers,

(b) to establish guidelines for municipal police departments and discipline authorities concerning appropriate disciplinary or corrective measures in respect of police officers,

(c) to assist municipal police departments in delivering fair, impartial and effective police services to the communities they serve, and

(d) to maintain public confidence in the police by ensuring that police are accountable to the public in a way that is fair to police officers and to members of the public and does not unduly interfere with the ability of police officers to carry out their duties.


As a side note Mary, I see a similarity here between the VPD and TransLink where the provincial government had appointments to make on behalf of themselves for each entity but by outright refusal, by stalling, didn't. The result for Translink was that the old board (community leaders) were tossed to the wolves and a PP3 type of board was installed by the BC Liberals.

The troube at VPD can be laid at the door of the BC Liberals; the same BC Liberals who have said NO to a fall session because they see no need for them to face the Opposition questions and the public.


PS..... I thought that the only person who could speak on behalf of the Board was one person, the Chair, the Mayor of Victoria so what's with these six desenters who have violated the provincial government's legislation. They should be replaced, and I'm quite sure they will be.
Many thanks for your helpful insights, NVG.

I'd like to suggest that you send a note to Victoria Times Colonist. There's probably a good reason why TC didn't offer the Victoria Police Board proper editorial space -- don't you think so?

And so these 6 came back with the weird idea of discussing public affairs as a Letter-to-the-Editor.

I've said all along that TC had done the best job of the CanWest lot (not HIGH praise, but certainly I think they deserve credit).

So TC might welcome a brief comment from you, supporting their view.

Thanks again for joining in.

Is it too late for "this" in regards to Chief Battershill's work on behalf of the citizens of Victoria and Esquimalt and his fellow police Chiefs across Canada (Wally are you reading this?).

A flood of support for the departed Chief??? How would the Victoria Police Board view the sudden interest in Battershill or would Chief Bill Naughton (to whom the form letter of compliment emails are automatically sent) accept the comments at all?
We just got told in an e mail there is now an investigation of the acting deputy chief involving the handling of a Police Board member's sons case. The Abbotsford chief is investigating it. No idea what its about.
Anonymous 4:45,


And good luck.

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