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Chain of command hurt Pickton probe: inquiry

VANCOUVER - A former detective says the Vancouver police force put too much power in a skeptical inspector who ignored warnings that a serial killer was murdering sex workers.

VANCOUVER - A former detective says the Vancouver police force put too much power in a skeptical inspector who ignored warnings that a serial killer was murdering sex workers.

Geographic profiler Kim Rossmo has told the public inquiry into the Robert Pickton investigation that he wrote reports concluding a rash of disappearances in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside was likely the result of a single killer.

But the officer in charge of the force's major crimes section, Insp. Fred Biddlecombe, didn't believe that theory and effectively disbanded a working group that was looking at ways to investigate it.

Rossmo says Biddlecombe honestly believed he was correct, which Rossmo says reveals a problem with the strict adherence to the rank structure that governs the police force.

Rossmo says there was no way for him to approach a supervisor without doing an "end-run" around Biddlecombe and further alienating the major crime section.

He says there needs to be a system in which officers can initiate discussions with their superiors to prevent single high-ranking officials from becoming the final word on how investigations proceed.