The RCMP is one of 31 Canadian police forces that has committed to reviewing its policies following a sweeping Globe and Mail report that examined how law enforcement across the country handles allegations of sexual violence.
The 20-month-long investigation, published Feb. 3, gathered data through Freedom of Information requests from 873 police jurisdictions and found that more than 5,000 claims of sexual assault are closed as unfounded by Canadian police every year.
According to the Globe, the findings exposed "deep flaws" at every step of the investigative process: inadequate police training; dated interview techniques that don't account for the effect trauma can have on memory; and rape myths among law-enforcement officials.
In Whistler, the data showed that, from 2010 to 2014, police deemed 25 of 102 allegations - or 25 per cent - as baseless. That's higher than the national average of 19 per cent, as well as the unfounded rates in Pemberton (18 per cent) and Squamish (nine per cent).
Studies from around the world peg the actual rate of false allegations of sexual assault between two and eight per cent.
In the wake of the report, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, the federal minister responsible for the RCMP, urged police agencies and prosecutors "to re-examine all of their approaches, all of their procedures, all of the ways that cases are managed, that investigations are conducted to make sure that we fix this problem and that our criminal-justice system is delivering justice to those who in these circumstances have been so brutally victimized." Police forces quickly vowed to take action, including the BC RCMP's E Division, which comprises the Sea to Sky.
"The RCMP has worked and continues to work to ensure that its policies with respect to how it collects and assesses evidence, and its practices aligning with those policies, are robust and effective," read a division statement provided to Pique. "In light of recent reports, we are examining those policies and practices to ensure that they are consistently adopted and enforced across all of our jurisdictions. As stated by Commissioner (Bob) Paulson this past Monday, the result of an investigation must turn on evidence, and not on opinion."
Vancouver man pulls knife in altercation, police say
A Vancouver man was arrested this week after he reportedly pulled a knife during a confrontation in the village.
In the early hours of Feb. 13, police were tipped off to an incident involving two parties in the 4100 block of Village Green. Mounties said the investigation revealed that a bystander attempted to intervene, at which point the 20-year-old suspect pulled out a knife. He was arrested and detained before being released with a future court date, police said.
Cyclist suffers minor injuries in crash
A cyclist was treated for minor injuries last week after being struck by a vehicle near the entrance to Function Junction.
On the afternoon of Feb. 7, police attended to the accident at the corner of Highway 99 and Alpha Lake Road, where they learned the male was hit by a southbound vehicle travelling through a green light.
Chairlift shut down after teen attempts to jump from tower
A 16-year-old boy is facing charges after he attempted to jump from a tower onto a chairlift this week.
Whistler Blackcomb ski patrol witnessed the incident, which took place in the early afternoon of Feb. 12, and quickly shut down the lift for 10 minutes until the teen was out of the area.
The male was released into his parent's custody and awaits a future court date, police said.