We must fundamentally transform the police in Canada to avoid another Portapique | Portapique massacre: Nova Scotia in mourning

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We must radically transform the police in Canada to avoid another Portapique | Portapique massacre: New Zealand ;mourning pod

On April 18 and 19, 2020, a 51-year-old man killed 22 people between Portapique and Enfield, Nova Scotia. Today, the commission investigating the worst mass shooting in modern Canadian history releases its report.

The Mass Casualty Commission report harshly criticizes the police intervention during the Portapique killings in April 2020.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), but also all police services in Canada, must thoroughly review their working methods to avoid another massacre like that of April 2020, which took place in the small community of Portapique, Nova Scotia.

The Massive Losses Commission unveiled its 3,000-page report on Thursday titled Rightening the Bar Together. Itmade 130 recommendations primarily aimed at services police officers.

The document lists multiple issues in dealing with and preventing the worst mass shooting in modern Canadian history, which left 22 people dead between April 18 and 19, 2020 .

Commissioners want police to change the way they work in Nova Scotia, but also in the rest of the country.

We need to rethink the role of police in a broader ecosystem of security public,” said Commissioner Leanne Fitch.

“Police culture must change!”

— Leanne Fitch, Commissioner, Mass Casualty Commission

The investigation revealed that the RCMP provided inaccurate information to the public, that its members did not have a good understanding of the geography of Portapique and that they did not deploy #x27;effective efforts to alert residents on the evening of the tragedy.

The report indicates that communication is inadequate between RCMP teams, the various police forces and with the public.

Protesters demand answers and transparency over police action during a demonstration on the occasion of the first anniversary of the killing on April 18, 2021. (File photo)

The commissioners also deplore the work of the RCMP before and after the tragedy and recall that any organization must demonstrate 'introspection to improve.

“There were many warning signs of the perpetrator's violence and many missed opportunities to intervene.

— Leanne Fitch, Commissioner, Mass Casualty Commission

Waiting months or years to conduct an after-action review does no good, commissioners say.

They believe that the RCMP's introspective work was inadequate.

Had the RCMP conducted and published an After Action Review, some of the Commission's findings and recommendations would likely have already been addressed.

More than half of the Commissioners' 130 recommendations relate to law enforcement.

The public inquiry found serious flaws in the RCMP process for seizing, sharing and analyzing information.

The Commission therefore recommends that police forces in Nova Scotia and elsewhere in the country learn to better collaborate and exchange data, but also to take better notes.

Several Halifax Police Department vehicles and an RCMP patrol car.

It also recommends better organization within police teams to identify senior officials and to effectively communicate messages to the public.

The Province of Nova Scotia should, in the next six months, establish a multi-sector council […] to review the structure of policing in Nova Scotia, the report says.

“Canadian society is at a critical juncture with respect to the future of policing. »

— Leanne Fitch, Member of the Mass Casualty Commission

The commissioners believe that the RCMP must also review its entire culture in relation to minorities and would like the police to be more open to the critical.

The ability to take responsibility for one's mistakes must be a criterion for promotion within the RCMP, the document states.

They are also asking for more transparency regarding the exchanges between the Minister of Public Security and the former RCMP Commissioner.

Brenda Lucki, former Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Conversations should be made public to avoid suspicion of political influence. Former commissioner Brenda Lucki had found herself in embarrassment after a recording was released in which she expressed frustration that the RCMP had not publicly released information about the weapons used by the Portapique killer.

In an attempt to resolve several shortcomings raised in the work of police officers, the Commission suggests changing the way police forces in Canada recruit and train their members.

Commissioners would like all police officers in Canada to be required to complete a three-year police training diploma by 2032.

We need an overhaul of police training in Canada, and we need to recruit officers capable of working in modernized police services, believes Leanne Fitch.

The small community of Portapique was the scene of much of the massacre and the commissioners believe that the security of isolated areas must be reinforced.

Portapique Beach Road is the only official road in and out of Portapique, but those familiar with the area know that it is also possible to take a dirt road through a field of blueberries.

The federal government should, according to the report, pass legislation within six months to support and strengthen community safety and well-being in every province and territory.

This law would promote safety through prevention, education and collaboration between community entities, law enforcement, schools and health centers.

The report also proposes the establishment within a year of a Community Safety and Wellbeing Leadership Council made up of leaders from all sectors.

The prevention of this kind of tragedy requires, according to the commissioners, a more severe law to regulate firearms and license holders.

Here are the weapons the shooter had in his possession when he was killed at a gas station in Enfield, Nova Scotia. There are three handguns and two rifles. Three of these guns came from Maine.

They are calling on Ottawa to ban all semi-automatic handguns and all semi-automatic rifles and shotguns […] that are designed to accept detachable magazines of more than five cartridges, specifies the report.

This recommendation is already part of Bill C-21, tabled by the Liberal Party.

The Commission also wants Canada get rid of banned weapons already in circulation and that the country not hesitate to revoke the license of someone convicted of domestic violence.

The April 2020 killer's spouse, Lisa Banfield, suffered for years from such abuse. The commissioners believe in supporting victims.

Lisa Banfield testifies at the Mass Casualty Commission, July 15, 2022 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The facts clearly show that those who commit acts of such violence often have a history of domestic violence, says Mass Casualty Commission Chairman Michael MacDonald.

We must also at all costs avoid blaming victims of violence for reporting their abusers.

The Mass Casualty Commission investigated for months after the April 2020 tragedy. collected more than 230 testimonies and reviewed thousands of documents.

The exercise, much criticized by families and some experts, is expected to cost approximately $47 million in state and federal funds, far more than originally anticipated.

To improve this process , the commissioners recommend a consultation phase before the establishment of an investigation to ensure, among other things, that the scope of the mandate is achievable within the timeframe.

They also offer a three-month preparatory phase and a designated body to oversee the disclosure of documents.

The commissioners want at all costs to prevent all these recommendations from sinking into oblivion.

Michael MacDonald (center), chair of the Mass Casualty Commission, surrounded on March 9, 2022 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, by fellow commissioners Leanne Fitch (left) and Kim Stanton (right).

By May 31, 2023, the governments of Canada and Nova Scotia should establish and fund a Recommendations Implementation Body, which would ensure that the proposed changes are facts and that progress is communicated to the people.

The report specifies that the body must have an active president capable of motivating the people and confronting the government authorities if the changes drag on .

Many of the recommendations require action by political leaders and public organizations, such as the RCMP, said Commissioner Kim Stanton.

Despite everything, the commissioners are categorical, for real change to take place, the entire population must do their part.

Together, we can considerably reduce the threat and the incidence of violence, says Commissioner Fitch. Including mass violence.

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