Police complaints office recommends investigation into VicPD spending on former police chief

Police complaints office recommends investigation into VicPD spending on former police chief

File photo.

File photo.

The provincial watchdog on police conduct is calling for a review of actions by the Victoria Police Board (Vic PB) related to money spent during the investigation of former Chief Frank Elsner.

In it’s 2017/18 annual report released Tuesday, the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) said it received a complaint of the Vic PB using money from the “operational side” of its 2015/16 budget to pay for an external private media crisis consultant to deal with the Elsner investigation.

The complainant also had a concern of continued funding of lawyers retained by Elsner, although he was suspended with pay.

The OPCC has recommended the Director of Police Services consider a special investigation into the actions of the Vic PB or prepare a report into the board’s use of the VicPD budget during the time outlined in the complaint.

In its report, the OPCC says the police board dismissed the complaint, saying transactions were”clearly within the legislative responsibility of the Board,” adding it was not related to the general management of the VicPD as stated in section 168(1) of the Police Act.

The complaints office said it received correspondence from the complainant disagreeing with the police board’s decision.

The OPCC said the board’s conclusion was “arguable” and the commission viewed the matter did fall within the scope of both general management and operation of the Victoria Police Department.

The commissioner said an “accountable and transparent review of the allegations into this complaint was in the public interest.”

Elsner was the subject of two separate investigations into his conduct.

The first involved sexually charged text messages exchanged between Elsner and the wife of one of his own members, something he admitted to shortly after the allegations went public.

When an internal investigation was launched, it was found Elsner tried to cover it up.

The second investigation found Elsner sexually harassed two of his female employees.

An OPCC report found the former chief committed a total of eight acts of misconduct pursuant to the police act.





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