Suspended police chief investigated over concerns for financial improprieties and dismissals

Lawyer’s request to see documents on dismissals, suspensions and financial records spurs RCMP investigation

The police chief of Victoria has been suspended while the RCMP investigates allegations of misconduct against him.

Paul Battershill was appointed police chief of the British Columbia capital in 1999. In October 2007, a sensitive legal document from one lawyer to another was leaked to the media. The Victoria police board was notified and a lawyer made freedom of information (FOI) requests for several documents relating to Battershill and the Victoria police department, making allegations of wrongful dismissal and improper spending.

Battershill was placed on administrative leave Oct. 11 while the police board looked into the matter. On Oct. 27, the province’s police complaints commissioner ordered the RCMP to investigate the allegations. Neither the commissioner nor the RCMP specified what would be the focus of the investigations but the FOI requests involved wrongful dismissals, suspensions with pay, expense accounts and employment contracts with pay equity.

On Nov. 6, Battershill was officially suspended with pay and deputy chief Bill Naughton was appointed interim chief.

Battershill had been scheduled to retire at the end of 2007 but his term as chief was extended until the end of 2008 to make up for six months he spent as city manager.

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