They were alarming charges, and they have put the RCMP n the defensive. Police say they're looking into allegations that they could have had a warrant and searched Robert Pickton's pig farm years before they finally did.

Once they did, they arrested the serial killer. But could the arrest have come sooner?

The Canadian Press has the story:

VANCOUVER -- The RCMP say they are reviewing allegations that police could have obtained a search warrant for convicted serial killer Robert Pickton years before they arrested the B.C. pig farmer.

The allegations come from a high-profile RCMP officer who recently said publicly that she spent years being treated as a potential sexual plaything by some supervisors.

Cpl. Catherine Galliford, who was the spokeswoman on the Air India and Pickton investigations, said she has read a 1999 Coquitlam RCMP file and knows there was enough information in that file to obtain a search warrant for Pickton.

Police arrested Pickton Feb. 5, 2002 and eventually found the DNA of 33 women on his farm.

"The RCMP has received a statement from Cpl. Galliford,'' said RCMP Sgt. Peter Thiessen in a statement to media. "The statement contains a number of allegations of member misconduct that are of serious concern to the RCMP.''

"The RCMP has initiated a review of these allegations and will take appropriate action to address them.

"It would be inappropriate for us to comment on anything relating to the ongoing Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.''

The inquiry heard evidence Thursday from Vancouver's Deputy Chief Doug LePard, and earlier this week it released a report on the Pickton investigation written by Jennifer Evans, deputy chief of Ontario's Peel Regional Police.

Evans concluded the Pickton investigation in the late 1990s stalled because of a massive leadership failure within the Vancouver Police Department.

Police arrested Pickton in 2002 after a junior officer obtained a search warrant related to illegal firearms. The officer wasn't a member of the missing women task force.

A jury convicted Pickton of second-degree murder in 2007 for the deaths of six women, although he claimed to have killed as many as 49.

Another 20 murder charges against Pickton were not proceeded with after the Supreme Court of Canada rejected his appeal of the killings he was convicted of.