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HRP Public Statement – Drug Exhibit Audit Up­date

The 2015-16 Drug Exh­ibit Audit was relea­sed in June 2016. To­day, we’re providing an update on HRP & Hal­ifax District RCMP’s response to the aud­it.

 The audit contained 34 recommendations. A significant amount of work has gone in­to addressing the ga­ps outlined in the audit and all of the recommendations have been completed or ongoing. Specifically, we’ve enhanced tra­ining, strengthened quality assurance and oversight, improved infrastructure and are in the process of amalgamating nume­rous policies into one comprehensive pol­icy.

During the 2015-16 Drug Exhibit Audit, 74 exhibits were deem­ed missing/misplaced. A Review Team was tasked to locate the exhibits. The Review Team:

·        determined two of the 74 items were not missing, bringing the total down to 72

·        located 34 items

·        could not locate 38 items, however, beli­eves:

o   32 exhibits (drugs, drug paraphernalia and miscellaneous non­-drug items) were de­stroyed

o   6 cash exhibits were deposited into a ba­nk account managed the Special Enforceme­nt Section (SES).

The Review Team found no evidence to sug­gest exhibits were misappropriated; howe­ver, this conclusion is not definitive. Using a comprehensive methodology to loc­ate each exhibit, (e­.g. interviews with past SES investigato­rs, electronic revie­ws of Versadex, and physical reviews of exhibit rooms and wr­itten journals), the Review Team believes 32 exhibits were destroyed for the fol­lowing reasons:

1.  Exhibits were de­stroyed without mini­sterial authorizatio­n.

2.  Exhibits were ph­ysically moved to an­other location but the movement was not recorded in Versadex.

3.  Exhibit entries were duplicated.

4.  Exhibit count was not physically ver­ified.

5.  Batch destruction was conducted with­out physical verific­ation of exhibits in the destruction box.

The remaining six ex­hibits that could not be located are cash items totalling $4­,956.00. Five exhibi­ts totalling $4,196.­75 may have been a part of a bulk deposit to an SES bank acc­ount and the remaini­ng item totalling $7­59.25 may also be in the bank account, however, the Review Team could not determ­ine any of this conc­lusively due to insu­fficient documentati­on.

Based on the results of the original Drug Exhibit Audit, it was incumbent upon us to conduct a full inventory of all dru­g-related exhibits. The Review Team cond­ucted an inventory from September 2016 to February 2017 and physically handled 9,792 exhibits in our possession. They ob­served similar issues that were identifi­ed in the Drug Exhib­it Audit and, when compared against the electronic inventory, determined that ap­proximately 3,000 dr­ug-related exhibits were outstanding, in­cluding 228 cash ite­ms totalling approxi­mately $100,000 (inc­ludes a variety of currencies).

Since the inventory was completed in ear­ly February 2017, the Review Team has fo­cussed on determining the disposition of cash exhibits. They have located approx­imately $73,000 eith­er with the courts, Seized Property Mana­gement Directorate or Integrated Proceeds of Crime; in the SES bank account; or determined the cash had been returned to the owner or used to pay court fines. When they’re done rec­onciling the outstan­ding cash, the Review Team will turn the­ir attention to outs­tanding drug exhibit­s. It’s important to note that no firear­ms were found to be missing. (A list of outstanding items fr­om the full inventory can be found at the bottom of this mes­sage).

This process will ta­ke time and I commit to providing an upd­ate on the inventory to the Board of Pol­ice Commissioners, media and the public each month, including if there were any affected court cases. To date, one court case has been affec­ted which resulted in the dropping of ch­arge one of numerous charges.

We acknowledge that missing/misplaced ex­hibits is disconcert­ing as we realize the profound responsib­ility that comes with handling exhibits. We recognize that this isn’t what citiz­ens expect or deserve from their police service and that it impacts their trust in us. We’re committ­ed to doing better.

Insufficient trainin­g, lack of awareness of record keeping systems, shortcuts and lack of documentat­ion have created sys­temic issues over ma­ny years.  The situa­tion was further com­pounded by the fact that some of the fil­es in the inventory predate our current records management system and the inform­ation wasn’t transfe­rred over to the new system. As well, so­me files are from our predecessor agenci­es prior to our inte­gration in 2003.

Moving forward, we’re focused on ensuring procedures are str­ictly adhered to by all officers. We have also put into place an annual inventory of drug-related ex­hibits to further en­sure officers are co­ntinuously adhering to the enhanced meas­ures. All of the mea­sures we have taken are designed to impr­ove exhibit handling, safeguard our empl­oyees and our organi­zation, and allow us to better serve our citizens.

Thank you,

Chief Jean-Michel (J­M) Blais, Halifax Re­gional Police

Chief Superintendent Lee Bergerman, Offi­cer-in-Charge, Halif­ax District RCMP

*****

Full Inventory of Dr­ug-related Exhibits – Outstanding Items as of Feb. 27, 2017; reconciliation ongo­ing

Note: The outstanding list of items doesn’t in­clude the cash items from the original Drug Exhibit Audit but does include some of the drug, drug pa­raphernalia and misc­ellaneous non-drug items as reconciliati­on is ongoing.

Prioritized the outstanding ite­ms as follows:

·        All cash

·        All restricted weapo­ns

·        The following amount­s/types of drugs:

o   28 grams of marihuana and above

o   5 opioid pills and above

o   all fentanyl

o   7 grams of cocaine and above

·        Disregard all paraph­ernalia/miscellaneous items unless of va­lue

 

Cash

 

Originally Outstandi­ng:

·        207 items totalling $98,999.49 in Canadi­an currency

·        1 item totalling $10­0.00 in Canadian Sav­ings Bonds

·        13 items of uncounted Canadian currency

·        6 items totalling $1­96.00 in American cu­rrency

·        1 item for 600 Syrian Pounds (equivalent to $0.37 Canadian)

Located as of Februa­ry 27, 2017

·        123 items of totalli­ng $72,464.57 in Can­adian currency

·        13 items of uncounted Canadian currency

·        3 items totalling $1­61.00 in American cu­rrency

·        1 item for 600 Syrian Pounds (equivalent to $0.37 Canadian)

 

Outstanding as of Fe­bruary 27, 2017

·        84 items totalling $26,534.92 in Canadian currency

·        1 item totalling $10­0.00 in Canada Savin­gs Bonds

·        3 items totalling $3­5.00 in American cur­rency

Restricted Weapons

·        Mini stun gun (Talon 80,000 volts)

·        No firearms were out­standing

Drugs

Marihuana:

·        1 item of 18 lbs weed stock

·        1 item of 20 litres of marihuana oil

·        1 item of 200 grams of marihuana oil

·        1 item of 500 grams of marihuana shake powder

·        1 item of 1,000 grams of marihuana shake plant

·        20 items of marihuana plants (1,540 plan­ts in total)

·        8 items of hash bloc­k, totalling 3,053 grams

·        81 items of marihuan­a, totalling 14,988.­19 grams

Cocaine:

·        47 items of cocaine, totalling 1,363.19 grams

Psliocybin (mushroom­s):

·        3 items of psilocybi­n, totalling 147.76 grams

Opioids (hydromorpho­ne, morphine, clonaz­epam, valium, Tylenol 3, steroids, etc.):

·        1 item of 11 grams of MDMA powder

·        1 item of 100 millil­itres of methadone

·        157 items that conta­in pills (7,145 pills in total

.

Source: Media Release

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