Saturday, February 5, 1994

Bob Brent

p. A8.

Woman hails new police policy

She was investigated after saying constable asked for sex favors

A North York woman whose background was probed by police after she filed a complaint says she's satisfied with a new policy to prevent similar investigations.

"My case obviously has made an impact," the woman said in an interview.

The Metro police services board adopted the policy, which becomes part of the force rules and requires officers to focus their investigations on the complaint not the background of a complainant.

A crown attorney has concluded that police gathered information about Mrs. F in 1991 "for the purpose of undermining (her) credibility after she accused a constable of offering to protect her from her husband in return for sex.

Two internal affairs officers travelled as far as Montreal while probing the woman's background.

The information they collected was turned over to the lawyer representing police officers at a board of inquiry into her complaint, which later was quashed on a legal technicality.

The 35-year-old woman, who never denied having sex with the officer, is suing both Metro police and the provincial Police Complaints Commission.

Chairperson Susan Eng said the civilian police services board wants to ensure that people are not discouraged from filing a complaint against police because they fear they will be investigated.

Eng said she's confident that the policy will be effective.

"Police... are only as good as the people who follow them," she said. "I have to take on faith that they (police) understand the underlying principle. The bottom line is that we don't have complaint chill."

Acting Deputy Chief Robert Kerr called the Mrs. F case "an unusual set of circumstances. "It will not happen again," he pledged to board members.

Mrs. F sat anonymously in the wings of the police auditorium and later called Kerr's words "comforting."

About "Mrs. F"... [Fiona Stewart]

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Last modified: August 17, 1999

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