The Ottawa Police Department saw a spike in complaints from members of the public in the first quarter of 2022, largely due to the three-week “Freedom Convoy” occupation, but few were deemed actionable.
A report prepared for Monday’s Ottawa Police Services Board meeting shows 327 public complaints to the Ottawa Police Service in the first three months of the year. In the first quarter of 2021, there were 77 complaints.
The report states that 275 of the complaints were directly related to policing during the convoy’s occupation of downtown Ottawa; however, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), which oversees public complaints against the police, has screened 95 percent of them.
The OIPRD says it will bar complaints that are made in bad faith, that are frivolous or vexatious and that are not in the public interest.
Some of the complaints the OIPRD has screened include several complaints that the Ottawa police were not doing enough to control the occupation, as well as complaints that the police were doing too much, especially when it comes to fuel confiscation.
There were also 19 internal behavioral complaints in the first quarter of 2022.
According to the report, 288 case investigations were completed, 253 of which were deemed frivolous or vexatious, more than six months after the facts on which it was based occurred, involving a third party that the complainant was not affected by, or was deemed not to be involved in. public interest. Another 24 were unfounded and eight complaints were withdrawn.
Three complaints led to informal disciplinary action. None resulted in a disciplinary hearing.
In addition, the OIPRD has merged several similar complaints into one file. Sixty-five complaints for failure to act were consolidated, as were five complaints for differentiated treatment.
The Ottawa Police Services Board meets Monday at 4 p.m.