RCMP officers were given permission to break the law 73 times on the job last year — the highest number on record — according to a new report.
Police officers are not immune from criminal liability while doing their jobs, but a decade-old tweak to the Criminal Code allows for a temporary dispensation during investigations.
The provisions are subject to a legal requirement of reasonableness and proportionality. High-ranking officials can grant permission if they believe breaking the law could save someone's life, protect the identity of an undercover officer or save evidence from being destroyed.
In 2017, senior officials gave the green light to 94 scenarios, resulting in the 73 committed crimes.
They were mainly linked to organized crime investigations which saw undercover officers taking part in bets, pool-selling, bookmaking and unlawful possession of tobacco products, according to a recent Public Safety report quietly tabled in the House of Commons in late October.
Going back to 2003, the first year the report is available, Mounties have committed just a smattering of green-lit crimes.
On average, they've been authorized to break the law about six times a year, making the 2017 calendar year an anomaly.
Forgery, bribery and other offences
The only other year that saw a spike was 2015, when 20 crimes were committed in the name of anti-corruption and terrorism-related investigations.
That year, the offences ranged from bribery to unauthorized use of a computer and passport forgery.
The crimes vary by year, but often involve forgery and false statements.
During a 2013 terrorism investigation, officers were given authority to provide and make "property or services for terrorist purposes."
Neither Public Safety officials nor the RCMP would explain why 2017 saw a huge spike.
"We are evaluating the increase in the 2016-2017 numbers, but cannot provide any details at this time. We will not speculate on trends related to 2018 statistics," said RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Marie Damian in an email to CBC News.
"RCMP procedures and policies governing undercover activities are continually reviewed to ensure undercover operations are applied pursuant to all laws, procedures, and policies governing undercover operations while not jeopardizing the safety of our members, suspects, their families, or the public."
It would not let me archive it. Plus, seems just by visiting the site I've given them permission to give my info away and use it how they please. Since I already made the mistake of clicking on the link, I figured I would copy/paste the contents of it.