A former senior officer with the Delta Police Department has been retroactively dismissed after being found to have engaged in inappropriate sexual communications with a young woman.
The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) opened an investigation into the conduct of then-Inspector Varun Naidu in 2018 after the DPD received a complaint about his conduct involving a young woman who was interested in a career in policing.
Saanich Police Chief Scott Green, acting as external discipline authority on behalf of the OPCC, found there was substance to the complaint, and in September of last year DPD Chief Neil Dubord, in conjunction with Green, suspended Naidu with pay while the investigation continued.
At the time, DPD public affairs coordinator Cris Leykauf said the investigation was not criminal in the nature and the allegations did not involve any Delta Police Department employees other than the officer in question.
Naidu never returned to work and retired on May 31, prior to his disciplinary hearing. Naidu had been with the Delta Police Department for 25 years and was in charge of emergency planning. In March of 2018 he received the Police Officer Commission from the Lieutenant Governor of B.C.
On June 12, 2019, Green issued his findings to the OPCC, which were released publicly on Aug. 27. In his report, Green found that Naidu had contacted the woman through social media, initially communicating about potential employment as a police officer, and later engaged in communications of a sexual nature, both via text and in person.
Green determined that Naidu had committed misconduct and recommended dismissal, calling Naidu’s conduct a “deliberate and calculating effort to establish safeguards that would enable him to engage in a covert and sexually explicit relationship with [the woman].” Green added Naidu was “in a position of trust and authority by virtue of being a male, a police officer, a senior officer and someone who could have significant influence on [the woman’s] career aspirations.”
Green also found that during the course of the Police Act investigation Naidu had provided false or misleading evidence about these communications, conduct which “undermines the reputation of the department and the profession, and has a significant adverse impact on public confidence in police,” according to a press release from the office of the police complaint commissioner.
The commissioner opted not to call a public hearing into the matter, rather agreeing with Green’s findings and determining that the nature and seriousness of the matter had been addressed “through a thorough, professional investigation and appropriate sanction.”
“The discipline authority in this matter [Green] has sent a clear message that conduct which exploits a relationship of trust or where there is a power imbalance will attract the most serious of consequences. In these cases, the public must be assured that senior ranking police officers will conduct themselves with integrity in all matters,” Deputy Police Complaint Commissioner Andrea Spindler said in a press release.
In a statement, Dubord said he had reviewed Green’s findings and supports the discipline authority’s decision to dismiss Naidu.
“I’d like to thank Saanich Police for their thorough investigation into this matter,” Dubord said in a press release. “The Delta Police Department’s values — honour, integrity, courage and trust — aren’t just words on the wall of our headquarters building. Those values are something I, and other members of the DPD, try hard to live every day. When those values are ignored or discounted, it hurts not only us but our community.
“The Police Act investigation revealed that Inspector Naidu’s actions fell below the standard that we expect of our employees. And we have even higher expectations of our senior officers,” Dubord continued. “I want to be clear: This type of behaviour is not tolerated within our organization. I’m very disappointed that a Delta police officer treated a member of the public in such an inappropriate and disrespectful fashion. Inspector Naidu was in a position of authority and I recognize the significant impact of his actions. We have communicated the results of these discipline proceedings within our organization, in support of our values.”
Though Naidu had retired prior to the commissioner’s decision, his employment records will reflect that he was dismissed from the Delta Police Department.
The DPD has also reviewed the work Naidu was involved with and has determined that the investigation into his actions shouldn’t impact any past or current court proceedings.