The union representing public service workers employed at RCMP detachments plans to ask the federal police force for an uncensored version of a review into the escape of a prisoner from the Maypoint Detachment in Charlottetown this past January.
“(The report and recommendations) will be something that the union will be pursuing,” said Lynette Robinson, regional vice-president of the Union of Safety and Justice Employees (USJE).
A heavily-redacted version of the review, among other related documents, was received by The Graphic through an Access to Information request.
The review in question came about after Allen Victor Jefferson, who was charged with sexual interference and public mischief, escaped police custody January 14, 2019. He was arrested in Salisbury, New Brunswick and transported to PEI the previous day.
The Stratford resident was at the detachment that morning to be fingerprinted and photographed in preparation for a show cause hearing. Mr Jefferson was in an unlocked phone room when the officer stepped out for what the review described as “less than one minute,” and when the officer returned, the prisoner had escaped.
(As noted in related documents, the detachment is housed in a leased building situated beside a strip mall that includes a restaurant, a food and bar establishment and other businesses.)
Mr Jefferson was arrested in Cornwall later that same day, and charged with escaping custody. Since then, he’s been charged with 10 additional offenses including sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual interference and making child pornography. He pled guilty to four charges on Wednesday, August 14, and will be sentenced in November.
The documents show the RCMP asked Inspector Jean-Guy Bourque, of L Division Federal Criminal Operations, to prepare an independent review of the incident. The review acknowledged the Maypoint Detachment didn’t have any holding areas for prisoners that “would ensure the safety of all employees.”
The review’s conclusion and recommendations were omitted in full from the records received by The Graphic.
A March 25, 2019 follow-up memo from Superintendent Mac Richards to Queens District Staff Sergeant Shane Hubley makes reference to “failing to comply with Section 503 of the Criminal Code.” While the specifics were redacted, the online version of the Criminal Code of Canada makes references to matters such as custody, undertakings, remand, appearances in front of a justice of the peace, and so on.
The documents also include a physical security vulnerability assessment report dated January 21, 2019. The report, prepared by staff from the RCMP Atlantic Region’s Departmental Security Section, stemmed from a request by the RCMP’s Strategic Planning and Project Management Office to determine any security issues at the site. The vulnerability assessment itself and its conclusions were, once again, redacted in full.
Ms Robinson, who has seen the redacted version of the documents, said she isn’t aware of any concerns from Maypoint staff, but acknowledges the detachment may not be in the best location.
“It is likely not conducive to an optimal police environment,” she said. “One of the number one concerns is the health and safety of our members. We work very hard to protect physical safety as well as the mental health of all our members.”
Ms Robinson said she was told there is an automatically-locking door between the interview room and the so-called bullpen where employees are located.
“While the person arrested may have escaped ... there was not an opportunity to go through the bullpen,” she said, adding she plans a site visit later this month.
A spokesperson for the PEI RCMP said the information was redacted because providing it could cause a safety issue for its officers.
When asked if a similar situation has happened at Maypoint in the past, she said no.
“I’m not aware of any incidents at other detachments but I have no way to search that information for you,” the spokesperson added.
When asked if the RCMP is planning to renovate or rebuild the Maypoint Detachment, the spokesperson said the police force works with the federal government through its Real Property Management Branch, but “I don’t have any insight into our status.”
A spokesperson for Public Services and Procurement Canada said the RCMP hasn’t asked the federal department for any funding.