QUEBEC - The Quebec government is investigating high-ranking members of the provincial police for possible criminal activity.
Public Safety Minister Stephane Bergeron says they are suspected of improperly using of a special-operations fund.
The money is supposed to fund investigative operations, like paying informants. But the government says it was also used to pay severance packages and also one consultant who had been barred from receiving government contracts because of his tax troubles.
Bergeron says that fund is also supposed to be rigorously accounted for — and he says that didn't necessarily happen in this case.
Speaking in Quebec City, the minister told a news conference that the activities in question could be a criminal offence for breach of trust.
Bergeron says he has created a special task force to investigate, comprising mostly retired police officers. He says he had to take that step because the legislature has yet to adopt a bill that would create a special-investigation unit in the province.
He says those being investigated have been suspended, with pay.
Bergeron says the behaviour was uncovered when the new PQ government replaced the head of the provincial police force and tasked the new administration with finding cost savings.