A Discipline Authority has cleared Delta police of misconduct into the way an investigation was handled regarding an incident last summer involving the wife of Chief Neil Dubord.
On Friday morning, the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) confirmed with the Optimist that the Discipline Authority has issued its decision.
“I can confirm that the investigation by the Vancouver Police Department into Delta Police Department's handling of an incident involving Ms. Kiran Sidhu and Ms. Dubord has now concluded,” said Deputy Police Complaint Commissioner Andrea Spindler. “The Discipline Authority has issued his decision determining that the members involved did not commit misconduct. A total of three allegations of misconduct were considered: Neglect of Duty in relation to Delta Police Department's investigation into Ms. Sidhu's complaint that she was sprayed with a hose by Ms. Dubord; Neglect of Duty in failing to advise Ms. Sidhu that a phone conversation was being recorded; and Discreditable Conduct in relation to concerns that a member inappropriately used his position to interfere with the complaint made by Ms. Sidhu. The OPCC is satisfied that the investigation conducted by VPD was thorough and complete.”
Spindler added that generally speaking, the OPCC is bound by strict confidentiality provisions, but provided comment to the Optimist after Global News obtained a copy of the report and released its findings on Thursday.
“In terms of process, both the respondent members and the complainant will have received disclosure of this investigation,” she said. “They will have received the final investigation report and the Discipline Authority's decision. Complainants have the right to request the Commissioner appoint a retired judge to review the matter. We have not received a request from Ms. Sidhu.”
When reached for comment Friday morning, Kiran Sidhu said the result was “disappointing.”
“I think it is really hard to prove misconduct and seek justice when we are working with institutions,” she said. “Just because this investigation didn’t find misconduct doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I firmly believe there was some things going on that were untoward.”
Sidhu said she will not be appealing the decision and just wants to put the whole incident behind her.
“It’s very hard to re-live that over and over. It will be a year in June…I’m ready to just let this go…it’s just too much,” she said. “I’m hoping these institutions can learn from this.”
Cris Leykauf, spokesperson for the DPD said the department accepts the results and the Discipline Authority decision.
“The VPD report is with the OPCC, an independent oversight body, for their conclusive review of the investigation and findings by the VPD,” she said. “Contrary to what has been reported in the media, the OPCC has confirmed with the DPD that they have not yet concluded their final review of the VPD investigation and findings.
Respectfully, the DPD will not comment further until the OPCC completes its review and provides a written conclusion of this matter.”
Delta Mayor George Harvie, who is also chair of the Delta Police Board, said he was disappointed that the confidentially under the orders he is under as chair of the board wasn’t adhered to by all parties.
“I’m looking forward to receiving the report officially from the office of the OPCC,” said Harvie. “At that time, after discussion with the board, we can then provide further comment. I’m also very concerned by the length of time this matter has taken. The cost of time of the individuals involved, lawyers etc., has been very punitive to the Delta taxpayer.”
The incident in June 2020
Sidhu was at a socially-distanced picnic with friends at Centennial Beach June 6, 2020 when the Surrey resident and Richmond teacher left the gathering alone. Unfamiliar with the beach area, Sidhu said she was forced to climb onto rocks, which are near the back fence of the Dubord property as the tide was coming in.
As she made her way along the rocks, Sidhu and Lorraine Dubord got into a verbal exchange and Dubord sprayed Sidhu with a garden hose.
Sidhu, about a week after the incident, filed a report with the DPD.
The DPD conducted an investigation and informed Sidhu that no further action would be taken. Upset, at what she felt was a lack of accountability, and what she deemed was not a fulsome investigation, Sidhu then made a formal complaint against the department, which triggered an investigation by an outside organization, in this case, Surrey RCMP.
Following that RCMP investigation, in September, the BC Prosecution Service announced that rather than charges, Dubord would instead face “alternative measures.”
DPD hired PR firm
In late February it was revealed that the DPD hired a PR firm in the days after the incident became public to handle crisis communications, the cost of which was $42,000.
DPD said those PR costs were managed within the department’s budget.
After much discussion at Delta council, in March, civic politicians endorsed a recommendation by staff to change the city’s purchasing policy, which previously stipulated that contracts valued under $50,000 typically did not have to go to council for approval.
The revised policy includes a requirement that expenditures for external services under $50,000 that “do not represent our core services or are unique and in need of transparency be reviewed by the City Manager and Director of Finance to determine if council approval would be required.”
Delta staff has sent the Delta Police Board a letter requesting they adopt a similar purchasing policy.Delta will also make a submission to the province’s Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act requesting several changes be made.