Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Missing Drug Exhibits Were Likely Destroyed, Not Misappropriated: Halifax Police

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Missing Drug Exhibits Were Likely Destroyed, Not Misappropriated: Halifax Police

Article excerpt

Missing drugs were likely destroyed: police

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HALIFAX - The findings were discomforting for Halifax police: Thousands of exhibits -- including marijuana, cocaine, opioids and cash -- were missing.

But in an audit report released Monday, the force insisted there was no evidence to suggest the exhibits were misappropriated.

Instead, they said, it's believed that evidence was destroyed, misplaced or mislabelled.

"That being said, we couldn't physically account for some of these items. We believe they were destroyed, but we can't conclusively say that," said Supt. Jim Perrin after presenting the report to the city's Board of Police Commissioners.

The audit was first prompted in 2015 after it was alleged that an officer had stolen from evidence lockers. A number of audits have taken place since then, with the latest covering all drug-related exhibits seized between 1992 and 2016.

Among the missing police exhibits were 293 sums of cash, 331 large drug exhibits and 2,628 smaller and non-drug exhibits, some of which were located during the detailed audit of its inventory.

Hundreds are still missing.

"We're not happy with the results, but we're confident that we're going to be a better police department because of it," said Perrin.

Perrin, who was in charge of the audit, said it's believed the missing drugs were likely destroyed and that the missing cash had been deposited into a police bank account without record of which case it was connected to.

"At no time through this process do we believe that anything was misappropriated by anybody," said Perrin. "If we had come across that, we would have dealt with it, we would have taken that very seriously."

He blamed a number of factors for the shortcomings over the 25-year period, including inadequate recording and tracking of exhibits, non-standardized training and a lack of adherence to procedures by officers, and exhibits that were destroyed without proper documentation, as mandated by Health Canada. …

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