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Ottawa must reform RCMP, report says

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The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians concludes that the RCMP is not operating as effectively as it should. (Archive photo)

The Canadian Press

The Committee of Parliamentarians on National Security and Intelligence believes that Ottawa must make major changes to the federal policing program of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to ensure the protection of Canadians against the most serious threats.

In a report released Tuesday, the organization warns that the key program presents challenges – from weak governance to vacant positions and poor management data – which undermines its ability to fulfill an essential role.

In light of its review, the Committee believes that the federal police are not and cannot function as effectively as they must to protect Canada and Canadians against the most significant threats to national security and crime.

A quote from Excerpt from the report of the Committee of Parliamentarians on National Security and Intelligence

The government must act to remedy the situation.

The committee of MPs and senators, which hears witnesses behind closed doors, announced its review of the RCMP's mandate two years ago.

Its review looked at the capabilities and outcomes of the mandate's programs and activities, as well as how the RCMP conducts federal criminal investigations in the areas of national security, complex crimes and crime organized.

Liberal MP David McGuinty, chair of the committee, said in an interview that members were shocked in some ways by the obstacles preventing the program from achieving peak performance.

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David McGuinty, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security and Intelligence x27;The RCMP's long-standing emphasis on front-line contract policing across much of the country has shaped police organizational structure, governance, finances, human resources and training models.

In this context, the federal police was faced with internal challenges to its program, the committee noted.

Challenges include divisions having a significant say in the federal law enforcement priority-setting process, compromising the program's ability to track ongoing investigations and spending, or to redirect resources towards higher priorities.

The report also notes a steady decline in the number of federal police personnel, particularly police officers, over the past eight years, with no information to suggest that this trend will change in the foreseeable future.

The document states that the RCMP clearly recognizes the problems, noting that its numerous initiatives in the areas of governance, data, prioritization, intelligence, recruitment and training should result in improvements.

However, the Committee is concerned that the momentum toward maintaining the status quo is strong.

A quote from Excerpt from the report of the Committee of Parliamentarians on National Security and Intelligence

According to him, obstacles to meaningful reform include the considerable role of contract policing, the lack of specific political direction to the federal police, the complexity of the problems affecting organization and the frequent crises that arise.

The RCMP cannot do it alone, the report says, adding that government must play a clear role in driving change.

Ottawa should establish the federal police as a priority and make it clear that reform is essential, says the committee.

In doing so, the federal Minister of Public Safety must play a role larger role, providing direction to the RCMP in each of the key areas where the government wants to see reform, the report states.

Even if the principle of police independence prevents the Minister from giving direction in the area of ​​police investigations, arrests and charges, he does not #x27;does not prevent participation in broader areas of institutional reform and government priorities, the committee asserts.

This is an important step to strengthen the democratic accountability of the federal police, we read in the report.

According to the committee, ministerial directives should at a minimum include governance, financial controls, recruitment and training, clear objectives and expectations of the minister in all these areas, as well as annual reporting requirements.

The committee also calls on the government to put in place stronger measures to ensure its money is spent on federal priorities and to determine whether additional resources are needed.

Simultaneously, Ottawa should decide whether changes to the structure of the RCMP are necessary to ensure the success of federal policing, the report says.

Some have called for the RCMP to abandon contract policing and become an organization akin to the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Greater autonomy for the RCMP would allow the federal policing program to meet its most significant challenges, according to the report. He adds, however, that it may be time for Canada to consider an autonomous federal police organization.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116