Les Sylven, Chief Constable of Central Saanich Police, says one of his officers knows he made a mistake after his failure to thoroughly search an individual allowed that person to play with a knife inside a hospital. (Black Press File)

Central Saanich top cop acknowledges mistake that led to knife in hospital

Officer in question ‘accepted full responsibility and apologized’

Central Saanich’s top cop said one of his officers knows he made a mistake after his failure to thoroughly search an individual allowed that person to play with a knife inside a hospital.

“Again, it is our responsibility, and this was an error that was made, not intentional, and the officer was quite bothered by the fact that this happened and accepted full responsibility and apologized to everybody who was working that day for missing that,” said Les Sylven, chief constable of the Central Saanich Police Department. “We strive to be perfect every day, but at the same time, we are humans and when we make mistakes, we learn from them,” he said later.

The incident appears in the newest report of the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC), the provincial office investigating complaints against police officers.

RELATED: Misconduct investigations spike by 65% across B.C.’s municipal police forces: report

It says the officer neglected his duty when he failed to conduct a sufficiently thorough search” of a person, whom police had apprehended prior to transport and admission to a secure psychiatric facility. “Two hours after being admitted to hospital, the apprehended person pulled out a knife and started playing with it,” it reads. “The apprehended person relinquished the knife to hospital staff upon request.”

Sylven described the knife found on the person as “little jack knife” that fit into one of the smaller pockets that are part of jeans.

“There is the main front pocket and then there is a little one [and] it fit completely inside that little pocket,” he said. “It still matters though, but it was very small.”

The officer received what the report described as an “advice to future conduct,” the first [and therefore lowest] level of available discipline.

“‘What you did here was not proper and you need to do a better job next time,’” said Sylven in describing the punishment. “That is ‘advice to future conduct’ and it goes all the way from that to dismissing somebody. It’s acknowledging that misconduct did occur [and] he knows that he needs to do a better job next time. This seemed like the most appropriate way to strike a balance … given the totality of everything.”

Sylven said this is the first time, that the officer, which he described as “excellent,” received such a punishment. “What can I say publicly is that under the Police Act the corrective measures imposed include consideration for the officer’s record,” he said.

The hearing also led to the recommendation that the department make a portable handheld metal detector available for officers in the field to assist them in clothing searches. Sylven said those devices are now available to officers.

The report also recommended that police department representatives meet with hospital staff to discuss enhancing mutual safety protocols. “This would include the potential use of the hospital’s fully-trained protective officers to search patients in a clinical setting before allowing them access to their secured wards,” it reads.

Looking at the bigger picture, OPCC opened 1,326 files involving 14 police agencies, a 15 per cent increases from the 2017/18 reporting period.

Substantiated misconduct allegations included officer’s improperly securing firearms to excessive use of force on civilians to inappropriate comments made in the workplace, according to the office’s annual report released this week to the provincial government.

“I know there is significant pressure to have discipline, but you probably agree with me that compared to everything else that is in there, this is a pretty minor matter,” Sylven said.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

Road work on Island Highway could cause some delays in View Royal

Temporary lane closures from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. between Beaumont and View Royal avenues

SD63 students calling on the province to step in and end strike

SD63 students to gather at Minister of Education’s office while strike continues into third week

Victoria recreation fees set to rise nearly five per cent

Fee increase needed for wages, aging infrastructure costs says staff report

Two reports of prowlers in one night in Esquimalt

VicPD notes simple changes can help prevent crime around your home

VIDEO: Disney Plus gives Canadians a streaming platform that nearly matches U.S. version

The Walt Disney Company’s new subscription platform unveiled a comprehensive offering of nearly 500 films

POLL: Do you support CUPE workers in their dispute with School District 63?

SD63 schools to remain closed as strike continues Tuesday

Sex assault charge stayed against Port Moody mayor

Rob Vagramov appeared in provincial court in Port Coquitlam

73% of B.C. residents agree with a temporary ban on vaping products: poll

54% say they would not date someone who vapes, Research Co. poll suggests

B.C.’s 13-cent gasoline gap still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Former Vancouver Canucks player suing financial advisors for negligence

Jason Garrison claimed his advisors failed to take his circumstances into account

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

B.C. teacher said he would use student to ‘whack’ two others on Grade 8 field trip

Campbell River teacher-on-call suspended three weeks after November 2018 incident

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

Most Read