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RCMP recruitment improving, says commissioner

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The commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Mike Duheme, wants to make recruitment more attractive within the police force.

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When he took the reins of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in March 2023, Mike Duheme knew that the challenge of this new mandate would be significant. Governance, recruitment, allegations of harassment within the ranks: for several years, the RCMP has been grappling with internal problems. It was Mr. Duheme's mission to tackle it.

With 36 years of experience within the RCMP, more was needed to discourage this native of Chambly. After nearly a year at the head of the RCMP, the commissioner in an interview at Coulisses du politique takes stock of the problems that are giving him trouble challenges and situations that have improved.

At the top of the list: recruitment.

We see that people are less interested in the work of the police. […] It's a change at the societal level, or I don't know if it's the media attention that the police have often attracted. It's difficult work, often scrutinized.

A quote from Mike Duheme, Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

According to figures taken from a recruitment study conducted by the National Police Federation, between 2021 and 2022, the RCMP received 9,822 applications, compared to 11,800 applications during the previous financial year, a drop of almost 17%.

Although he admits that the question of recruitment made him lose sleep, the commissioner seems to have regained it, because the situation has clearly improved, according to him. However, we still have to maintain the pace.

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We are on an upward slope, we are in a good position, he maintains.

One of the reasons: a simple change in the RCMP recruitment policy regarding mobility. From now on, new recruits are no longer required to accept a position anywhere in Canada.

This measure helped to change things, according to Mr. Duheme, and to attract recruits with varied profiles, sometimes older, with a family, a home and financial commitments.

This change also made it possible to improve the balance [between] family life and [la] professional life, a key element in ensuring the retention of recruits.

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The Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Mike Duheme, is Daniel Thibeault's guest on the show “Les glaces du verre”.

If there is another problem that has concerned Mike Duheme for several years, it is the interference of foreign entities.

This question is also the subject of a public inquiry. Judge Marie-Josée Hogue, who was chosen to chair this investigation, has the mandate to verify the integrity of the last two federal elections (2019 and 2021). It must produce an interim report by the end of May.

The threat changes. What we see today is not what we saw. […] The dynamics, the evolution of the national security [landscape] have changed [radically].

A quote from Mike Duheme, Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

According to the commissioner, his organization had to adjust to face several types of threats to national security and interference from within the country, abroad and online. The multiplicity of sources of these threats complicates investigations and confuses the issue, but does not stop the RCMP's work.

According to the commissioner, the ongoing investigation into the murder last June of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, president of a Sikh temple in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver, is progressing favorably.

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Protesters gathered in Vancouver last June following the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. He was shot and killed in the parking lot of the Sikh temple he led in Surrey, Metro Vancouver. (Archive photo)

This event caused shock waves throughout the House of Commons. Justin Trudeau had suspected the Indian government of having sponsored this murder.

Each crime scene has its particularity, and there are some that are more complex than others, underlines Mike Duheme.

While a defamation suit has been launched against the RCMP, the investigation into Chinese “police stations” is also progressing, according to Commissioner Duheme.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Another growing phenomenon that worries Commissioner Duheme is online violence and harassment against parliamentarians.

I have never seen so many threats or insults towards elected officials on the Internet, he notes. He sees a change in society where the public, comfortable behind a computer, writes or makes threats on social networks.

Daily online threats can push some elected officials to leave political life, particularly in the municipal sphere, where proximity to the public is greatest.

To those who believe that everything is allowed behind their screen, Commissioner Duheme issues a warning: We don't often talk about it, [but] we have a lot of success to trace these people and to lay charges.

This episode of Behind the scenes will be broadcast on Sunday at 11 h on ICI RDI and on HERE Télé.

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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