SPVM | Internal Affairs Director Removed Due to Investigation

The head of internal affairs for the Montreal Police Department (SPVM) has just been removed because she herself is the subject of a police investigation, we have learned. The Press.

Published at 1:09 am

Updated at 5:00 a.m.

This decision comes just four years after the end of a period of intense turbulence within this service, responsible for ensuring the probity of SPVM police officers.

According to three police sources, Chief Inspector Brigitte Barabé lost her position as head of the Integrity Service last week. Until now, the information has circulated relatively little in the corridors of the SPVM.

The police force refused to confirm The Press that Mme Barabé had been dismissed, but confirmed that she was no longer head of the Integrity Service.

“The SPVM does not transmit information on its employees’ files, because this is personal and confidential information,” the communications department said in an unsigned email. “The Integrity Service is headed by Chief Inspector David Bertrand.”

Mme Barabé did not respond to messages from The Press.

According to three police sources, the sidelining of Mme Barabé is reportedly linked to the opening of a financial investigation by the Sûreté du Québec (SQ). The exact nature of the allegations remains unknown.

Crises and departures in series

The service until recently headed by Mme Barabé has gone through some extremely difficult years over the past decade.

The internal affairs department first found itself in the spotlight during the controversy over spying on journalists: it was internal affairs officers who had requested and obtained authorization to monitor Patrick Lagacé’s cell phone in order to discover his sources.

One of M’s predecessorsme Barabé, Chief Inspector Costa Labos, had been suspended with pay for nearly five years in the wake of this affair. The man sued his employer for $2.5 million and was awarded $315,000.

Then, in 2017, the SPVM’s internal affairs were at the heart of allegations of rigged investigations and fabricated evidence by former police officers. A joint team led by the SQ and the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI) was put in charge of all ongoing and future criminal investigations into SPVM officers for the next three years. Up to 43 people worked on this team.

This second crisis led to the suspension of deputy director Bernard Lamothe, whose management included internal affairs. Once cleared, the police officer sued the SPVM for $1.85 million and was awarded $750,000.

Former police chief Philippe Pichet, who had decided to suspend Mr. Lamothe, was himself suspended from his job in connection with this affair in late 2017 before leaving his job. He is now suing the SPVM for $1.1 million.

In the fall of 2019, the police force assured that it had equipped itself with a “new, completely reformed Internal Affairs Service.” “In internal affairs, our mantra is: ‘never again,’” assured the boss at the time, Deputy Director Sophie Roy. “We have put things in place that ensure the independence and transparency of this unit.”

More than 20 years of service

Brigitte Barabé, for her part, has been a police officer in Montreal for over 20 years. She has worked in various departments, from communications to general investigations to the fight against sexual exploitation.

In 2022, she even proposed her candidacy to head the SPVM. Fady Dagher got the position.

She received the Police Exemplary Service Medal from the Governor General of Canada in 2019.



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