By: Jon Woodward, ctvbc.ca//Date: Monday Mar. 12, 2012
A retired Vancouver police constable told the –SHAM– missing women inquiry that a handful of his fellow officers had sex with Downtown Eastside prostitutes in the mid-1990s.
Dave Dickson said one officer in particular “took advantage” of his uniform to get sexual favours from four women at once – and one superior officer dismissed his concerns about the man.
“There were some officers that would take advantage of women for sexual purposes,” Dickson said. “I discovered one officer, for lack of a better term, preying on women and taking advantage of them. There were four that I would deem as vulnerable, and he was getting favours from them.”
Dickson, who was trusted by prostitutes when he worked the Hastings area as a policeman, made the allegations under questioning from Cameron Ward, the lawyer representing 25 families of murdered women.
Dickson did not name the officers, and ignored the questions from reporters about names.
He said when he found out about the practice, he complained to the superiors, and one officer was transferred.
But Dickson said after the transfer, he was called into a meeting with Insp. Al Grandia of the department’s internal affairs. Dickson testified Grandia said he didn’t see a problem with the sexual relationships, suggesting it was no different than if the police officer had an affair with courthouse staff.
“I looked at him and I said, ‘You’re not serious,'” Dickson said. “He said he was dead serious. I said, ‘You’re talking about an officer that took advantage of four women with a uniform.’ He said he didn’t see the difference. I said I believe I’ve had enough and I walked out of the office.”
The Vancouver police refused to comment on the allegations, and said Insp. Grandia is long retired. CTV News attempted to get in touch with Insp. Grandia but did not succeed by press time.
Kate Gibson of the WISH drop-in centre said the allegations, if true, were a clear abuse of police power. She said women shouldn’t feel as if they have to exchange sex for police protection.
“Women don’t feel at all safe when they’re oppressed by men in uniforms with guns,” she said. “That’s not going to have a good outcome at all.”