Dr. Dawg

A policeman's notebook [updated]

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Some questions concerning the “ex-cop” the Sun refuses to name, and the alleged pages from his notebook in their possession.

A police officer’s notebook may be introduced in court proceedings. Are there no procedures for securing it when it is filled up? Is it the officer’s personal property? May it be taken home when the officer retires?

If not, why is it in the possession of an ex-cop fifteen years after it was used? Is that legal?

If not, does this implicate the Sun in a possibly criminal matter?

Is the officer who took the notes the same individual who provided them to the Sun?

Who would have access to that notebook besides the officer at the scene? A superior officer? Even a former police chief?

And finally: why aren’t the media digging into this aspect of the case rather than indulging in one-handed typing?

UPDATE: A commenter brings this document to our attention.

Some excerpts:

Whose notebook is it anyway?

A police officer may be under the mistaken impression that a notebook is his or her personal property. That is not the case.

A Police Service purchases notebooks and provides them to its officers for use in recording information relating to policing activities, to help in completing various police reports, and as a reference source when testifying in Court. Consequently, the notebooks are the property of the Police Service, and are subject to the [Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy] Act.

Completed notebooks, or notebooks left behind by police officers no longer employed by a Police Service, are clearly in the custody or under the control of the Police Service, as that phrase is used in section 4(1) of the Act. Similarly, notebooks in current use by police officers also fall within the wording of section 4(1) and are considered as responsive records if they contain information that falls within the scope of a particular request received by a Police Service under the Act.


Barring exceptional circumstances, information recorded in a police officer’s notebook is not the personal information of the officer. The most common exception to this general rule is where the police officer’s performance has been called into question or when his or her conduct is under investigation.

In these circumstances, the notebook entries may or may not contain the police officer’s personal information, but this is a decision that must be made by the [Police Service’s Freedom of Information and Privacy] Co-ordinator after reviewing the content of the notebooks and considering all relevant circumstances.

Many thanks to the commenter. Once again, the blogoverse is doing the Fourth Estate’s job for them. Glad to help.

UPPERDATE: Police will once again be investigating police. Don’t expect much.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on April 30, 2011 11:40 AM.

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