Section 43(7) of the Police Act allows the Chief of Police (Chief) to recommend to the Edmonton Police Commission (Commission) that it dismiss a complaint that appears to be clearly frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith.
Frivolous: When a complaint is either clearly devoid of substance, lacking in factual basis, absent an air of reality, lacking in proper seriousness, or without importance.
Vexatious: When a complaint is clearly repetitious of one or more previous complaints that all share substantially the same theme and have already been determined. Attempts to abuse or misuse the complaint process even if legally justified to do so. Vexatious complaints include without limitation, any one or more of the following:
- persistently bringing complaints to determine an issue that has already been determined by a competent body;
- persistently bringing complaints that cannot succeed or that have no reasonable expectation of success;
- persistently bringing complaints for improper purposes;
- inappropriately using previously raised grounds and issues in subsequent complaints.
Bad Faith: When a complaint is made dishonestly or for an improper purpose.
- Once the Chief has determined that a complaint appears to be clearly frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith, a letter will be provided to the Commission recommending that the complaint be dismissed pursuant to section 43(8) of the Police Act and including the reasons why the Chief believes the complaint should be dismissed. The Chief will also provide a copy of the investigative record of the complaint with documentation supporting why the complaint should be dismissed for being one or more of frivolous, vexatious, or made in bad faith.
- The Commission’s Public Complaint Director (PCD) will review the recommendation and supporting material to ensure all applicable documentation is included. The PCD will then bring the materials before the Commission to decide whether to uphold there commendation made by the Chief.
- The Commission will approve or deny the recommendation of the Chief to dismiss the complaint and, in doing so, will provide reasons. The Commission may seek further information or clarification from the Chief before coming to a decision.
- If the recommendation is approved, the Commission will provide a written decision to the complainant which includes the reasons for the dismissal of the complaint. The written decision will also inform the complainant of their right to request the Law Enforcement Review Board to review the Commission’s decision pursuant to section 43(12) of the Police Act. A copy of this written decision will also be provided to the Chief and subject officer(s).
- If the recommendation is denied, the Commission will provide a written decision to the Chief which includes the reasons for the denial and a direction that the Chief continue to deal with the complaint in accordance with Part 5 of the Police Act. A copy of this written decision will not be provided to the complainant or subject officer(s).
- Once the Commission has denied the Chief’s recommendation, the Chief may submit a subsequent recommendation to dismiss the same complaint as frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith should further investigation support another such recommendation.
- In the case of a section 46 complaint about the Chief that is deemed frivolous, vexatious, or made in bad faith, the Commission will follow policy 1.2.5 – Complaints Against The Chief.
- Police Act, RSA 2000, c P-17
- EPC Policy 1.2.5 – Complaints Against The Chief