OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Police Service is being kept busy investigating complaints about disrespectful behaviour by officers and civilian staff, a new report shows.

The “Positive Workplace” annual report for Monday’s Ottawa Police Services Board meeting outlines the number complaints by police officers and civilian staff about inappropriate behaviour, gossip, bullying, intimidation and conflict within the service.

The Ottawa Police Service launched its “The Respectful Workplace” program in 2007 following feedback from members about the need to address conflict, harassment and discrimination in the workplace. In 2017, the service established the Office of Respect, Conduct and Values to manage the program.

In 2019, there were 61 complaints about disrespectful behavior within the Ottawa Police Service. There were also five concerns raised about workplace violence.

According to the report, the top two categories of disrespectful behaviour in 2019 were:

  1. Disrespectful communication related to inappropriate behaviour, gossip and general lack of respect
  2. Personal harassment in the form of bullying, intimidation, yelling, swearing, rumours and conflict.

The report says “it is challenging to chart any patterns as the cases come from different directorates and work areas, and there has not been a recurring concentrated pattern of concern.”  It adds it’s tough to track because of the “high level of employee movement in the organization.”

There were 121 ethical issues also worked on and resolved by the Office of Respect, Conduct and Values in 2019.  According to the Ottawa Police Service, ethical issues can include allegations of potential wrongdoing or conflict of interest, personal discontent, disrespect and frustration.

The report says the volume of files handled by the office continues to be “significant and growing,” adding it has “prompted discussions internally on how to best resource the area in the future in order to ensure it can fulfill its mandate and service the needs of our members.”

The Ottawa Police Service says the continuous promotion of a respectful workplace is paramount.

All new employees undergo mandatory Respectful Workplace Program training, and presentations are given through the year to employees.

Spike in calls in 2019

It was a busy year for Ottawa Police in 2019.

A new report for the Ottawa Police Services Board shows there were 369,000 requests for service last year, up eight per cent from 2018.

The number of requests for service through online reporting increased 19 per cent last year.

In the November to December period, the Ottawa Police service received 92,000 requests for service, up 11 per cent from the same period in 2018.

The report says nearly half of the increase was the result of calls classified as “Alternative Response”, which are “911 Activation Assessments or 911 hang-up calls.”