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Vancouver Police Deputy Chief Doug LePard, right, and RCMP Assistant Commissioner Al MacIntyre, left. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)
Vancouver Police Deputy Chief Doug LePard, right, and RCMP Assistant Commissioner Al MacIntyre, left. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Vancouver police to open books on Pickton probe Add to ...

The Vancouver Police Department on Wednesday said it would release an internal report about the police investigation of serial killer Robert Pickton on Sept. 9, as the provincial government weighs the possibility of launching a public inquiry.

The province had previously asked the VPD and the RCMP to withhold publishing internal reports until cabinet had reviewed the material.

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In Vancouver on Wednesday, Premier Gordon Campbell would not commit to holding a public inquiry but said cabinet would review the VPD report along with other police materials as the government mulled its next step.

"They will be part of the package that cabinet will consider in September," said Mr. Campbell, who spoke to reporters after greeting a group of Chinese tourists at the Vancouver International Airport. "We want to look at all of this information and how we can learn as much as possible from this to stop it from happening ever again in the future."

The report, by Vancouver police Deputy Chief Constable Doug LePard, is expected to shed light on unfollowed leads and missed opportunities that the force has already acknowledged left women at risk. The report, which focuses on events leading up to Mr. Pickton's arrest in 2002, has been kept on the shelf pending legal proceedings against the one-time Port Coquitlam farmer.

Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld Mr. Pickton's 2007 conviction on six counts of second-degree murder. After that decision, charges were stayed in 20 other cases. Mr. Pickton is believed to have murdered 33 and possibly as many as 49 women from the Downtown Eastside, where he typically preyed on women who were addicted to drugs and worked as prostitutes to support their habit.

With those legal proceedings concluded, the B.C. Supreme Court lifted a publication ban on material related to the case, resulting in a host of new details -including the circumstances of a previous attempted murder charge that was laid against Mr. Pickton in 1997 - being made public.

That information resulted in a new round of calls for a public inquiry into the investigation into missing women on the Downtown Eastside and the police investigation that targeted Mr. Pickton.

Former Vancouver police officer Doug MacKay-Dunn - who left the force in 2001 - on Wednesday said the Pickton investigation was hampered by miscommunication and turf wars between the VPD and the RCMP, which was also involved in the case. Police also failed to adequately follow up on suggestions by former Vancouver police officer Kim Rossmo that a serial killer was at work, Mr. MacKay-Dunn said.

Mr. MacKay-Dunn supports a public inquiry, despite the pain it will bring to victims' families, he said.

"It's already painful," Mr. MacKay-Dunn said. "I think now is the time to look at this and ensure it never happens again."

Dave Dickson, also a former Vancouver police officer, supports a public inquiry as well, saying that it would be worthwhile to look at how police share information, and communicate with women, on the Downtown Eastside.

He said the inquiry is essential, "For the women who are still down here, more than anything. You look at the bad date sheets, [violence]is a regular occurrence for women who are in that business."

With a report from Justine Hunter in Victoria

Follow on Twitter: @wendy_stueck

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