Ottawa police see spike in complaints following 'Freedom Convoy' but most screened out
The sign outside Ottawa police headquarters on Elgin Street. (Leah Larocque/CTV News Ottawa)
The Ottawa Police Service saw a spike in complaints from members of the public in the first quarter of 2022, largely due to the three-week long "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 police conduct during the convoy occupation of downtown Ottawa; however, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), which oversees public complaints against police, screened out 95 per cent of them.
The OIPRD says it screens out complaints that are made in bad faith, those that are frivolous or vexatious, and those not in the public interest.
Some of the complaints the OIPRD screened out included several complaints that Ottawa police didn't do enough to manage the occupation, as well as complaints that police did too much, particularly when it comes to the seizure of fuel.
There were also 19 internal conduct-related complaints in the first quarter of 2022.
According to the report, 288 case investigations have been completed, with 253 deemed to be frivolous, vexatious, over six months after the facts on which it was based occurred, involved a third party where complainant was not affected, or deemed to be not in public interest. Another 24 were unsubstantiated and eight complaints were withdrawn.
Three complaints resulted in informal discipline. None resulted in a disciplinary hearing.
In addition, the OIPRD combined several similar complaints into a single file. Sixty-five complaints for failing to take action were consolidated, as were five complaints for differential treatment.
The Ottawa Police Services Board will meet Monday at 4 p.m.