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.