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What counts as police misconduct?

In Ontario, police officers and chiefs of police must abide by the Code of Conduct. Failure to do so can result in misconduct proceedings.

The Code of Conduct sets out several types of misconduct:

Discreditable conduct. This encompasses behavior like discrimination, use of profane language, withholding or suppressing a complaint or report, being found guilty of a criminal offence, and behaving in a disorderly or prejudicial manner.

Insubordination. This includes being insubordinate through words, acts, or demeanour and disobeying lawful orders (without lawful excuse).

Neglect of duty. This category encompasses a variety of behaviour, including failing to comply with Special Investigation Unit investigations, carelessness or neglect allowing a prisoner to escape, failing to report a matter that it is the individual’s duty to report, feigning illness or injury to evade duty, being improperly dressed or untidy while on duty, etc.

Deceit. This includes knowingly making or signing a false statement in a record, making false/misleading/inaccurate statements pertaining to official duties, and destroying/mutilating/altering/erasing records without lawful excuse.

Breach of Confidence. This encompasses behaviour like divulging secret information, communicating with the media or any unauthorized person, and showing police records to others without authorization.

Corrupt practices. This includes taking bribes, soliciting or receiving gratuities or presents without consent of superiors, improperly using position as a member of a police force for private advantage, etc.

Unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority. This refers to making an unlawful or unnecessary arrest or detention, using unnecessary force, and improperly collecting information about an individual.

Damage to clothing or equipment. This encompasses losing or damaging the police force’s clothing, equipment, or other property, as well as failing to report loss or damage.

Consuming drugs or alcohol in a manner prejudicial to duty. This includes being unfit for duty because of consumption of drugs or alcohol, consuming or receiving alcohol while on duty (without permission from a superior), and persuading someone to give/purchase/obtain for the officer alcohol or illegal drugs while on duty.

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