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Police officers have been accused of engaging in “disgusting, appalling” behaviour as they went to “extreme lengths” to prove they were not cops.
Members of the force in British Columbia, Canada are said to have penetrated a colleague using a vegetable, defecated on another and exposed their genitalia, according to Global News and CT.
Policing experts in the country are now calling for an immediate overhaul of undercover tactics.
The BC Municipal Undercover Program was shut down after a workshop in May which left several participants so disturbed by the incident that they reported it to their superiors, with nine officers reportedly under investigation.
Mike Farnworth, British Columbia’s solicitor general, described the allegations as “disgusting” and “appalling” and authorities in the province have said that an independent investigation will now be launched.
“If these allegations are correct, then obviously some of these officers thought things were appropriate that are manifestly inappropriate,” said Kent Roach, a professor of law at the University of Toronto and author.
Roach also expressed concerns over the liberal use of deceptive and even violent tactics which Canadian police are allowed to use in undercover operations.
In recent years, criticism has focused on Canada’s frequent use of a tactic known as the “Mr Big” technique, used when police suspect a person has committed a serious crime, but cannot prove it due to a lack of evidence.
The technique involves recruiting the suspect into a fake criminal organisation in which they are encouraged to perform risky and sometimes illegal activities as ways of “proving” themselves worthy to join.
The end goal of the exercise is to have them meet the gang’s “boss” and confess to the worst thing they have ever done.
Such tactics are banned in many other countries, but have been used in hundreds of Canadian police investigations since it was developed in the early 1990s.
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