Transit cops with guns get complaints

The Straight

The number of public complaints against transit police officers has increased sharply since the provincial government granted them permission to carry firearms.

Between January 1 and December 4, 2005—during the period before transit police carried guns—only four complaints were filed. All alleged “abuse of authority”, according to a Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority Police Service response to a freedom-of-information request from the Straight.

In a three-year period from December 5, 2005, to November 27, 2008 (transit police were permitted to carry firearms on December 5, 2005), there was an average of 1.5 complaints per month compared to only one complaint every three months in the period before transit police officers had guns.

Of the 52 complaints filed over the three-year period, 33 listed “abuse of authority”, 16 claimed “discreditable conduct”, six alleged “neglect of duty”, two claimed “deceit”, and seven cited “improper off duty conduct”, according to a December 5 letter from deputy chief K. E. Allen.

“Of these 52 complaints, 6 were substantiated, 20 unsubstantiated, 6 summarily dismissed, 6 informally resolved, 2 withdrawn and the rest are still open files,” Allen wrote in his letter.

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