11 Abbotsford Police officers no longer part of OPCC investigation into misconduct

Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner provides update into investigation announced in February 2015

Abbotsford Police Chief Bob Rich spoke at a press conference in February 2015 after the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner announced it was investigating several officers following allegations of misconduct.

Abbotsford Police Chief Bob Rich spoke at a press conference in February 2015 after the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner announced it was investigating several officers following allegations of misconduct.

The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) has announced that it is discontinuing the investigation into the misconduct of 11 Abbotsford Police officers.

But it will continue to look into allegations against four other officers, the agency stated today (Tuesday) in a press release.

The OPCC said that of the 137 allegations it was investigating against these officers, it will continue to look into 15 claims.

The agency stated that its decision to drop most of the allegations resulted from a court battle related to confidential informants named in information to obtain search warrants (ITOs).

The courts determined that only officers conducting criminal investigations are permitted to access information relayed by informants.

That means that the New Westminster Police Department (NWPD) – the agency conducting the OPCC investigation into the Abbotsford officers – is unable to access information into allegations where informants are involved.

“In short, investigators are unable to determine if certain sworn statements contained in ITOs are accurate or not. Thus, there is no realistic means of properly and fully investigating the alleged misconduct in these cases,” the OPCC said in its release.

The agency announced in February 2015 that it was looking into 148 allegations of misconduct into 17 Abbotsford Police Department (APD) members. (The claims were later narrowed down to 137 involving 15 officers.)

The OPCC said the allegations included corrupt practice, deceit and neglect of duty, and stemmed from the investigation into Const. Christopher Nicholson.

He was arrested and charged in May 2013 with several criminal offences, including breach of trust, conspiracy to traffic a controlled substance, and obstructing justice.

Nicholson, whose charges are still proceeding before the courts, is alleged to have leaked information to a drug dealer so that person could avoid arrest, and is accused of providing false information to other officers, who used the details to obtain search warrants for drugs in private residences.

He is also alleged to have conspired with a confidential informant to have drugs delivered to a residence and have other police officers execute a search warrant soon after.

The APD asked the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) to conduct an investigation into Nicholson after two APD members informed an inspector of his alleged misconduct in July 2012.

The OPCC says that during the VPD investigation, officers discovered further allegations of misconduct against Nicholson and other members of the APD.

Many of the claims related to concerns about the integrity of statements sworn or affirmed before judicial officers in which authorizations for search warrants were obtained, the OPCC said at the time.

The NWPD was then asked to handle the OPCC investigation, with support from the RCMP and the Delta Police Department.

Abbotsford Police Chief Bob Rich said, in reacting to today’s announcement, that there were issues in the way that the department had been doing search warrants based on informant information.

“Many of the issues that led to our members being under scrutiny arose from inherent weaknesses in our system,” he said.

Rich said the APD has since implemented recommendations made by the VPD, which included updates in policy, training and internal audits.

He said he has “complete confidence in the integrity and professionalism” of the officers who were accused of misconduct.

“It has been a huge strain on them to have this investigation hanging over their heads for the past three years … The work they have continued to do in these circumstances is exceptional.”

The OPCC says ti will release a report on the findings into the remaining allegations once the investigation is complete. The agency does not lay or recommend criminal charges, but any officers who are determined to have committed any wrongdoing under the Police Act can face disciplinary measures that range from a written reprimand to a suspension or firing.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Some of the hundreds of pounds of trash removed by divers last month from Abbotsford’s Walmsley Lake.(Henry Wang photo)
VIDEO: Divers remove 462 pounds of trash from Abbotsford lake

Walmsley Lake dive uncovers several tires, hundreds of drink containers and a tent

Comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham is scheduled to bring his Seriously? tour to Abbotsford Centre on Nov. 4 after it was cancelled twice in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Jeff Dunham’s ‘Seriously?’ tour rescheduled for Abbotsford Centre

Show set for Nov. 4 after twice being cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
Harrison woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Once a star player with the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team, Kayli Sartori is moving into a new role coaching the next generation of Cascades. (UFV photo)
Chilliwack’s Kayli Sartori goes from court to coach with UFV basketball Cascades

Sartori is taking a new path as part of the U-Sports female basketball apprentice coaching program

Once again Fraser East is among the health service delivery areas with the highest rate of COVID-19 transmission in the province. (Datawrapper)
Fraser East sees third highest rate of COVID-19 cases in B.C.

The region is seeing a sustained increase in new COVID-19 cases

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Montreal Canadiens right wing Paul Byron (41) fights for control of the puck with Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes (43) during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Monday, March 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Captain Clutch: Horvat nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Habs 2-1

Vancouver, Montreal tangle again on Wednesday

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Trent Miner is returning to the Vancouver Giants, the team announced. He has been released by the Colorado Eagles of the AHL.(Rik Fedyck/Vancouver Giants)
Trent Miner returns to play goal for Vancouver Giants

Netminder was part of epic 11-game winning-streak by Langley-based team

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

Most Read