(CBC News) – Canada’s top Mountie is warning officers across the country to brace for more bad news about the force, including new details about the Surrey Six murder investigation.
In a leaked internal memo sent Monday, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson refers to the case of disgraced Alberta Mountie Sgt. Don Ray, who was transferred to B.C. after being reprimanded for having sex with subordinates and drinking on the job.
The memo describes Ray’s actions as “outrageous behaviour” and says Paulson understands Premier Christy Clark’s concerns about his transfer to B.C.
“It is a sad stain on our reputation,” he writes, but later acknowledges that, “sadly there is a lot to choose from if you want to criticize us.”
He goes on to predict that several “salacious” details about Mountie misconduct will surface in the media in the coming weeks and advises members of the force to “hang in there” and not let the coverage interfere with their work.
“Some of the stories are historical, some are recent, and sadly some are not yet widely known — like the allegations of misconduct brought against the principal investigators in the Surrey Six murder prosecution,” the memo reads.
Four officers who worked on the investigation into one of B.C.’s worst-ever gangland killings are facing allegations including having sex with a gang member’s girlfriend, who is also a witness, filing false overtime, and attempting to mislead Ontario police tasked with investigating the suspected misconduct.
The Mounties are set to stand trial in September.
Simon Fraser University criminologist Rob Gordon told CTV News that there’s a small chance those proceedings may affect the trials of the men accused in the 2007 shooting that left six people dead, including two innocent bystanders.
“If the Mounties’ behaviour affects the decisions of Crown counsel, they may as well pack up and leave,” he said.
Gordon said Paulson’s memo may be a savvy move to prepare his officers for the storm ahead..
“I think the whole thing is a pre-emptive strike that in many ways is a smart thing to do, to say ‘Look, this is coming, the horsemen of the Apocalypse are approaching, listen you can hear the hooves. We may as well as face them head on,’” he said.
In the memo, Paulson suggests that many behaviour problems within the force are a result of stress as well as addictions to alcohol and other substances, but urges his officers to take responsibility for their own actions — as well as their fellow members’.
“If you, as a member, cannot conduct yourself professionally — as the professional police officer who has been entrusted with special powers over your fellow citizens — then I need you to leave this organization,” he writes.
He ends by asking officers to change their thinking about conduct, and get back to the business of policing.