Audit finds drug, money evidence missing from Halifax police storage

There are some serious problems within the Halifax Regional Police’s record-keeping of evidence, particularly drugs and money, according to the results of an internal audit released Thursday.

HRP launched the audit after they charged one of their own, Const. Laurence Gary Basso, in January with theft, breach of trust and obstruction of justice.

Basso is accused of stealing a substance known as “cut” from a HRP exhibit locker.

READ MORE: HRP officer faces charges after allegedly stealing from evidence locker

The Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) investigated the alleged thefts beginning in 2015 —; the thefts are believed to have happened between Jan. 1 and March 14 of 2015.

With the investigation also came the drug exhibit audit, which has brought several problems to light, including the fact that many drug and money exhibits are missing.

Drug vaults one and two, as well as the money vault were found to be missing significant amounts of evidence, as well as having several items logged improperly.

In drug vault 1: 90 per cent of the exhibits (66 of 73) were not found where they were supposed to be and 52 per cent (38 of 73) of the exhibits couldn’t be found.In drug vault 2: 24 per cent of the exhibits (18 of 75) weren’t found where they were supposed to be and 12 per cent (9 of 75) weren’t found.In the money vault: 55 per cent of exhibits weren’t found where they were supposed to be and 32 per cent of the samples couldn’t be accounted for.

The audit also found that policy is not being reviewed and needs to be updated, training for officers in the Drug Unit needs to be standardized and that Evidence Continuity Reports are often missing details and are inaccurate.

HRP said they’re taking the 34 recommendations and developing a road map for improvement, something they said will be a “multi-year endeavor.”

Finding the missing or incorrectly logged exhibits, updating policy and improving training will be the top priority, they said.

Halifax police said no court cases have been affected by the missing evidence.

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