In another case of private information being misused, one RCMP officer left his patrol area to snoop on his ex-wife.
According to the discipline documents, the officer’s ex-wife and her boyfriend saw an RCMP patrol car driving through the parking garage of her Winnipeg condominium building at around 11:30 p.m. on May 8, 2010.
Suspecting the car was being driven by the ex-husband, the incident was reported to the RCMP’s D Division headquarters in Winnipeg, which revealed the ex-husband had queried the boyfriend’s licence plates in the police force’s database.
The officer admitted that he performed the database search in the hopes of identifying his ex-wife’s new boyfriend.
The discipline board considered the officer’s acceptance of “responsibility for his actions and [participation] in the early resolution process” when deciding what actions to take. They also noted that the officer had co-operated with the investigation.
In their decision, members of the board said they hope the officer had “learned from his mistake and trusts he is indeed prepared to abide by a Code of Conduct,” noting that “members of the Force are expected to act in an exemplary manner, and their conduct must be beyond reproach.”
The officer was issued a reprimand and docked three days’ pay.
So, two things here:
- These are some of the dangerous uses that a group of BC residents identified with regards to automatic license plate recognition, namely the use of non-hit data (i.e. information not linked to motor vehicle crimes) in excess of the ALPR program’s stated mandate;
- Holy hell. This is a case of a police officer stalking/inciting fear in a civilian and her current romantic partner, and there was a reprimand and a few days of docked pay? It’s these kinds of actions that teach people ‘the police won’t protect me if their own interests are involved.’
I mean really, with regards to (2), how terrifying would it be that an ex who is legitimately empowered to exercise the law is stalking you and those associated with you, using a ubiquitous surveillance technology. And moreover, imagine that things had been reversed: that the CIVILIAN was tracking the police officer. No way there’d be a reprimand and a few days of lost pay. No, that civilian would be looking at some intense court actions.
Total. Double. Standard.