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Military police watchdog probing whether investigators altered report, interfered in case

Jarnhamar

Army.ca Myth
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Military police watchdog probing whether investigators altered report, interfered in case​


Wave tops
  • military police officer, who appeared intoxicated, put her children in her car and allegedly attempted to drive them and herself home after leaving a restaurant.
  • complaints alleged the military police investigator's electronic report was altered without that person's knowledge or agreement
  • the unit commander and sergeant-major "repeatedly advised the investigator that charges would not be laid regarding the incident."
  • The incident was never reported to the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, which has jurisdiction
  • there was also no report made to the Office of Professional Standards of the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal.
  • another complaint was filed alleging there was interference by military police in a child welfare investigation involving the same military police officer involved in the March 10 incident.
  • allegations suggest military police leadership "went to considerable lengths to pressure and intimidate its members into cooperating with the alleged cover up."
  • Subordinate MP Unit members were directed to not report the incident and threatened those who did so with reprimands and/or being posted to an MP Unit in another region of the country.

[Also see Military Police Unit Public Interest Investigation (MPCC-2021-012, 2021-017, 2021-026) - Homepage]


To be fair to the CO and CSM, there's no way they could have expected anyone to make a big deal about this. We haven't been hammering ethics training and bystander training and "doing what's right" for the last couple years to members. We also haven't have a hockey bag full of officers and NCOs relieved of duty or charged for illegal or unethical behavior in the last year+

Speaking of which the story of the MP officer relieved of duty and sent home from Kuwait seems to have went into stealth mode eh?
 
To be fair to the CO and CSM, there's no way they could have expected anyone to make a big deal about this. We haven't been hammering ethics training and bystander training and "doing what's right" for the last couple years to members. We also haven't have a hockey bag full of officers and NCOs relieved of duty or charged for illegal or unethical behavior in the last year+
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And the four reports are in.

Of interest to me is that the current record system permits individuals to modify the Will Say of others; and while it's recorded that modifications were made and by who, the changes are not. That would seem to be less than optimal.

I also suspect that the unit in question needs a lot of work to rebuild trust. When Cpls and a Sgt in the unit are filing complaints about WO, CPO2, Capt and Maj in the unit, it sounds like trust has been lost.

 
Of course the headline of original article is misleading and makes it sound like the investigator altered a report.... Should read something like: "MP watchdog probing whether MP leadership altered investigator's report".

Nice to see them cleared however.
 
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And the four reports are in.

Of interest to me is that the current record system permits individuals to modify the Will Say of others; and while it's recorded that modifications were made and by who, the changes are not. That would seem to be less than optimal.

I also suspect that the unit in question needs a lot of work to rebuild trust. When Cpls and a Sgt in the unit are filing complaints about WO, CPO2, Capt and Maj in the unit, it sounds like trust has been lost.

Which records management software do the MPs use?
 
Which records management software do the MPs use?

Something called "Versaterm", according to one of the four reports.

Recommendation #1:
The Military Police Complaints Commission recommends that the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal seek to implement changes to the Security and Military Police Information System which will enable the tracking of the content of changes made to investigation files.

In the notice of action, the CFPM stated the following: “Recommendation is noted, however will not be actioned due to the following: The changes to tracking/collecting data referred to by the MPCC is a capability not currently contained within the programming of the SAMPIS software. CF MP Gp would have to make a special request for customization of the future product from VERSATERM, which would require time to develop, test and build into the future software. If this is even possible, the costs would be unknown, difficult to predict and prohibitive.”
The MPCC considers this recommendation as not accepted. The CFPM indicated that the CF MP Group lacks the computer software capacity to introduce the recommended feature.

 
Something called "Versaterm", according to one of the four reports.



Oh yeah, that’s Versadex. One of the
‘Big two’ RMS in Canadian policing. I’m not aware that either of them has a ‘track changes’ feature.
 
Oh yeah, that’s Versadex. One of the
‘Big two’ RMS in Canadian policing. I’m not aware that either of them has a ‘track changes’ feature.
That would seem to be a major problem. You'd think that continuity would be a requirement, so that records would be able to be reviewed from start to end.
 
That would seem to be a major problem. You'd think that continuity would be a requirement, so that records would be able to be reviewed from start to end.
No, not really. It’s normal to have transitory working products in the course of drafting a final disclosable document. In the context of this report, where a supervisor modified the report, that fact is still visible.

A “will say” is not evidence; it’s a summary of what a witness is prepared to testify to. It’s a convenience for crown but doesn’t replace careful examination of notes and other reports. Where an officer, for instance, is investigating alcohol impairment as part of a case, they would be expected to take personal notes as contemporaneously as possible. The evidence of the officer’s observations would come from their live testimony in court, with their recall prompted by their notes.

The problem with a ‘track changes’ feature like you see in Word is it could cause a MASSIVE disclosure burden of documents that aren’t intended to be in final form, when really most edits will just be to correct grammar and spelling, or to add new content to a running report documenting progress over time. It will be very rare for edits to be made to a report by someone else. I would say that restricting editing just the author would make sense.
 
No, not really. It’s normal to have transitory working products in the course of drafting a final disclosable document. In the context of this report, where a supervisor modified the report, that fact is still visible.
Well for real LE at least.

The problem with a ‘track changes’ feature like you see in Word is it could cause a MASSIVE disclosure burden of documents that aren’t intended to be in final form, when really most edits will just be to correct grammar and spelling, or to add new content to a running report documenting progress over time. It will be very rare for edits to be made to a report by someone else.
Other than the MP branch…

I would say that restricting editing just the author would make sense.
Agreed sorry screws up the quote by accident.
 
they would be expected to take personal notes as contemporaneously as possible.
Which, in a proceeding subject to disclosure, would be copied as part of the evidence.

As you say, a Will Say or report is not first-hand evidence in and of itself, but it should be the product of the author, not a committee. A law enforcement report isn't a academic dissertation or an application to Treasury Board, it is a summary of the information and knowledge that the author possesses (and in the case of a Will Say, able to testify to).

A report is a submission to the CoC/system or, specifically, whoever asked for it. I wouldn't find it unusual for someone in the author's reporting chain to have comment appended.

I would find it unusual for supervisory comment on a Will Say; that's like writing in my notebook.

My problem would be with broad access to individual document files in the first place.

I agree that a track changes type of record would create a host of evidentiary issues along with making the document pretty much illegible.
 
Which, in a proceeding subject to disclosure, would be copied as part of the evidence.

As you say, a Will Say or report is not first-hand evidence in and of itself, but it should be the product of the author, not a committee. A law enforcement report isn't a academic dissertation or an application to Treasury Board, it is a summary of the information and knowledge that the author possesses (and in the case of a Will Say, able to testify to).

A report is a submission to the CoC/system or, specifically, whoever asked for it. I wouldn't find it unusual for someone in the author's reporting chain to have comment appended.

I would find it unusual for supervisory comment on a Will Say; that's like writing in my notebook.

My problem would be with broad access to individual document files in the first place.

I agree that a track changes type of record would create a host of evidentiary issues along with making the document pretty much illegible.

It wasn’t just a comment- there were changes and deletions. That’s way out of bounds.
 
I recall a government Department releasing an important document in Word format and the media was able to see all the changes that had been made to it, including all the stuff edited out that was not for public consumption.
 
There were redacted documents released where the blackout marking was done as an overlay, so the underlying text could easily be revealed.
 
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