Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Do We Need More Mounties?

Apparently so, according to the Auditor-General. She's released a report on the matter today:
"The RCMP's clients say they appreciate the quality of the peace officers assigned to them," said Ms. Fraser. "However, we found problems with staffing and training that need to be addressed."

The audit found that new recruits do not always receive six months of training in the field under the supervision of a senior officer. Furthermore, planning for replacements is inadequate and the RCMP risks overloading the contract peace officers.

For the most part, the RCMP has provided the number of peace officers it is obligated to provide under contracts with provinces, territories, and municipalities but it has done so at the expense of its federal policing responsibilities, such as fighting organized crime.

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC) has negotiated agreements to provide First Nations communities with policing services, which the RCMP delivers. But PSEPC does not monitor the agreements' implementation properly, and the RCMP is not meeting some of the commitments in the agreements—for example, ensuring that peace officers assigned to these communities spend at least 80 percent of their time on the reserve.

"The RCMP's ability to meet its commitments is key to the safety and security of the 20 percent of Canadians who depend on it as their primary police force," said Ms. Fraser.
The chapter on the RCMP can be found here. Here's a brief summary of some of the problems identified:

1) Feedback on performance for contractors can be improved. The Mounties provided police services for communities and provinces on a contract basis. This may be a surprise to some people, but what the communities consider adequate police service and what the Mounties think is adequate aren't necessarily the same -- and the feedback mechanism doesn't really communicate this.

2) No one knows how many Mounties are needed per jurisdiction. The Mounties don't have a minimum standard to measure how many personnel are needed per detachment, which can lead to some unrealistic recruiting targets and personnel assignments.

3) The Mounties' HR people have forgotten that Mounties have lives. More to the point, they take time off to have kids, they get sick, they get hurt. For some reason, those factors have never figured into staffing planning, resulting in potential shortages of people.

4) More Mounties are going to be needed in the future. They're forecasting a loss of 700 people per year, through retirement and other normal job transitions. And due to increased demand, they want to recruit 1400 cadets a year for the next four years, in order to be able to graduate 1200 of them per year for that period.

I plan on taking a better look at this tomorrow -- there's a section on Aboriginal policing that seems apt for review.