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B.C. Reg. 205/98
O.C. 725/98
Deposited June 11, 1998
effective July 1, 1998

Police Act

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT REGULATION

Contents
1  Definitions
2  Purposes
3  Statement of core values
4  Disciplinary defaults
5  Discreditable conduct
6  Neglect of duty
7  Deceit
8  Improper disclosure of information
9  Corrupt practice
10  Abuse of authority
11  Improper use and care of firearms
12  Damage to police property
13  Misuse of intoxicating liquor or drugs
14  Conduct constituting an offence
15  Party to a disciplinary default
16  Improper off-duty conduct
17  Mental element of disciplinary default
18  Exception
19  Disciplinary or corrective measures

Definitions

1 In this Code:

"Act" means the Police Act;

"officer" means a person appointed under the Act as a provincial constable, special provincial constable, designated constable, municipal constable, special municipal constable, auxiliary constable or enforcement officer and includes a person who is a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police;

"police officer" means municipal constable or special municipal constable;

"supervisor" means, in relation to a police officer, the chief constable of the municipal police department with which the police officer is employed or any other police officer designated by the chief constable to supervise police officers of the municipal police department.

Purposes

2 The purposes of this Code are

(a) to establish a code of conduct that is applicable to and acts as a general guide for police officers in the performance of their duties and functions respecting the preservation of peace, the prevention of crime and offences against the law and the administration of justice assigned to peace officers,

(b) to establish guidelines for municipal police departments and discipline authorities concerning appropriate disciplinary or corrective measures in respect of police officers,

(c) to assist municipal police departments in delivering fair, impartial and effective police services to the communities they serve, and

(d) to maintain public confidence in the police by ensuring that police are accountable to the public in a way that is fair to police officers and to members of the public and does not unduly interfere with the ability of police officers to carry out their duties.

Statement of core values

3 This Code is to be interpreted as affirming that all police officers

(a) accept the duty to act without favour or personal advantage,

(b) are committed to treating all persons or classes of persons equally, regardless of race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, political belief, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, age or economic and social status, and

(c) agree to uphold rights and freedoms guaranteed or protected by law.

Disciplinary defaults

4 (1) In this Code, "disciplinary default" means

(a) discreditable conduct,

(b) neglect of duty,

(c) deceit,

(d) improper disclosure of information,

(e) corrupt practice,

(f) abuse of authority,

(g) improper use and care of firearms,

(h) damage to police property,

(i) misuse of intoxicating liquor or drugs in a manner prejudicial to duty,

(j) conduct constituting an offence,

(k) being a party to a disciplinary default, or

(l) improper off-duty conduct.

(2) It is a breach of this Code to commit, or to attempt to commit, a disciplinary default referred to in subsection (1).

Discreditable conduct

5 For the purposes of section 4 (1) (a), a police officer commits the disciplinary default of discreditable conduct if

(a) the police officer, while on duty, acts in a disorderly manner or in a manner that is

(i) prejudicial to the maintenance of discipline in the municipal police department with which the police officer is employed, or

(ii) likely to discredit the reputation of the municipal police department with which the police officer is employed,

(b) the police officer's conduct, while on duty, is oppressive or abusive to any person,

(c) the police officer contravenes a provision of the Act, a regulation, rule or guideline made under the Act, or does not comply with a standing order of the municipal police department with which the police officer is employed,

(d) the police officer withholds or suppresses a complaint or report against any other officer,

(e) the police officer fails to report to an officer whose duty it is to receive the report, or to Crown counsel, any information or evidence, either for or against any prisoner or defendant, that is material to an alleged offence under an enactment of British Columbia or Canada, or

(f) the police officer suppresses, tampers with or fails to disclose to an investigating officer, or to the discipline authority of a respondent, information that is material to a proceeding or potential proceeding under Part 9 of the Act.

Neglect of duty

6 For the purposes of section 4 (1) (b), a police officer commits the disciplinary default of neglect of duty if

(a) the police officer, without lawful excuse, fails to promptly and diligently

(i) obey a lawful order of a supervisor of the police officer, or

(ii) perform his or her duties as a police officer,

(b) the police officer fails to work in accordance with orders, or leaves an area, detail or other place of duty without due permission or sufficient cause or, having left a place of duty with due permission or sufficient cause, fails to return promptly, or

(c) the police officer is absent from or late for duty without reasonable excuse.

Deceit

7 For the purposes of section 4 (1) (c), a police officer commits the disciplinary default of deceit if

(a) the police officer makes or signs a false, misleading or inaccurate oral or written statement or entry in any official document or record, or

(b) the police officer, with intent to deceive, falsify or mislead,

(i) destroys, mutilates or conceals all or any part of an official document or record, or

(ii) alters, erases or adds to any entry in an official document or record.

Improper disclosure of information

8 For the purposes of section 4 (1) (d), a police officer commits the disciplinary default of improper disclosure of information if the police officer

(a) except as required in the performance of his or her duties, as authorized by his or her supervisor or as required by due process of law,

(i) discloses information that is acquired by the police officer in the course of being a police officer, or

(ii) removes or copies a record of any municipal police department or a police force, or

(b) makes, signs or circulates a petition or statement, in respect of a matter concerning any municipal police department or a police force,

(i) knowing that all or any part of the petition or statement is false, or

(ii) having reckless disregard as to the truth of the petition or statement.

Corrupt practice

9 For the purposes of section 4 (1) (e), a police officer commits the disciplinary default of corrupt practice if

(a) the police officer fails to properly account for, or to make a prompt and true return of, any money or property received by the police officer in the course of duty,

(b) the police officer agrees to be under a pecuniary or other obligation to any person in a manner that might affect the proper performance of the duties of the police officer, or

(c) for personal gain or for purposes unrelated to the performance of his or her duties as a police officer, the police officer

(i) uses authority or position as a member of a municipal police department, or

(ii) uses any equipment or facilities of a municipal police department or a police force.

Abuse of authority

10 For the purposes of section 4 (1) (f), a police officer commits the disciplinary default of abuse of authority if the police officer

(a) without good and sufficient cause arrests, detains or searches a person,

(b) uses unnecessary force on a person,

(c) while on duty, is discourteous or uncivil or uses profane, abusive or insulting language to a person including, without limitation, language that tends to demean or show disrespect to a person on the basis of that person's race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, political belief, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, age or economic and social status, or

(d) harasses, intimidates or retaliates against a person who makes a report about the conduct of an officer or submits a complaint under Part 9 of the Act.

Improper use and care of firearms

11 For the purposes of section 4 (1) (g), a police officer commits the disciplinary default of improper use and care of firearms if the police officer uses or cares for firearms in a manner that is contrary to the standards set out in the Police Firearm Regulation.

Damage to police property

12 For the purposes of section 4 (1) (h), a police officer commits the disciplinary default of damage to police property if the police officer

(a) loses, destroys or causes any damage to

(i) any police property, or

(ii) any property the care of which has been entrusted to the police officer in the course of the police officer's duties, or

(b) fails to report any loss or destruction of or any damage to any property referred to in paragraph (a), however caused.

Misuse of intoxicating liquor or drugs

13 For the purposes of section 4 (1) (i), a police officer commits the disciplinary default of misuse of intoxicating liquor or drugs in a manner prejudicial to duty if

(a) the police officer, on reporting for or while on duty, is unfit for duty as a result of drinking intoxicating liquor, using a drug for non-medical purposes or intentionally misusing a prescription drug, or

(b) the police officer, without proper authority, makes any use of, or receives from any other person, an intoxicating liquor or a non-medical drug while on duty.

Conduct constituting an offence

14 For the purposes of section 4 (1) (j), a police officer commits the disciplinary default of conduct constituting an offence if the police officer is found guilty of an offence under an enactment of Canada, or any province or territory in Canada, that renders the police officer unfit to perform his or her duties as a police officer or that is likely to discredit the reputation of the municipal police department with which the police officer is employed.

Party to a disciplinary default

15 For the purposes of section 4 (1) (k), a police officer commits the disciplinary default of being a party to a disciplinary default if the police officer aids, abets, counsels or is an accessory after the fact to a disciplinary default under this Code.

Improper off-duty conduct

16 For the purposes of section 4 (1) (l), a police officer commits the disciplinary default of improper off-duty conduct if

(a) the police officer, while off duty, asserts or purports to assert authority as a police officer and does an act that would constitute a disciplinary default if done while the police officer is on duty, or

(b) the police officer, while off duty, acts in a manner that is likely to discredit the reputation of the municipal police department with which the police officer is employed.

Mental element of disciplinary default

17 Unless otherwise specified in this Code, a police officer commits a disciplinary default if the police officer intentionally or recklessly committed the act or omission constituting the disciplinary default.

Exception

18 A police officer does not commit a disciplinary default under section 5 (a) or (b) or 10 (c) if the police officer's action, omission or conduct, as the case may be, is necessary in the proper performance of authorized police work.

Disciplinary or corrective measures

19 (1) After finding that a disciplinary default has occurred, the discipline authority may impose one or more of the following disciplinary or corrective measures in relation to the police officer concerned:

(a) dismissal;

(b) reduction in rank;

(c) transfer or reassignment;

(d) suspension without pay for not more than 5 scheduled working days;

(e) direction to work under close supervision;

(f) direction to undertake special training or retraining;

(g) direction to undertake professional counseling;

(h) written reprimand;

(i) verbal reprimand.

(2) If the discipline authority considers that one or more disciplinary or corrective measures are necessary, an approach that seeks to correct and educate the police officer concerned takes precedence over one that seeks to blame and punish, unless the approach that should take precedence is unworkable or would bring the administration of police discipline into disrepute.

(3) If the discipline authority considers that one or more disciplinary or corrective measures are necessary, the discipline authority must choose the least onerous disciplinary or corrective measures in relation to the police officer concerned unless one or both of the following would be undermined:

(a) organizational effectiveness of the municipal police department with which the police officer is employed;

(b) public confidence in the administration of police discipline.

(4) Aggravating and mitigating circumstances must be considered in determining just and appropriate disciplinary or corrective measures for a breach of this Code by a police officer of a municipal police department, including, without limitation,

(a) the seriousness of the breach,

(b) the police officer's record of employment as a police officer, including, without limitation, his or her service record of discipline, if any, and any other current record concerning past discipline defaults,

(c) the impact of proposed disciplinary and corrective measures on the police officer and on the police officer's career and family,

(d) the likelihood of future breaches of this Code by the police officer,

(e) whether the police officer accepts responsibility for the breach and is willing to take steps to prevent a recurrence of the breach,

(f) the degree to which the municipal police department's policies, standing orders or internal procedures or the actions of the police officer's supervisor contributed to the breach,

(g) the range of disciplinary or corrective measures imposed in similar circumstances, if known, and

(h) other aggravating or mitigating factors.

(5) Nothing in this Code prevents a chief constable or a municipal police board from doing one or both of the following:

(a) issuing an apology on behalf of the municipal police department concerned or, with the consent of the police officer concerned, on behalf of both the department and the police officer;

(b) considering, proposing or implementing policy changes designed to prevent recurrence of a breach of this Code.

Note: this regulation repeals B.C. Reg. 330/75, the Police (Discipline) Regulation, and B.C. Reg. 671/76, the Emergency Policing Regulation.

[Provisions of the Police Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 367, relevant to the enactment of this regulation: section 74 (2)]


Copyright © 1998: Queen's Printer, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada