Time for civilian governance at RCMP, watchdog says in harassment report


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Aug 6, 2012
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RCMP and their surrogates are under intense pressure as more towns and cities are insolvent or headed towards such a situation once the housing bubble bursts in cities like Toronto. The RCMP have been at the Apex of abuses against foreign businesses and a lack of accountability internally and in derelict of duty holding municipal and provincial police forces accountable.

After 100 years and so many controversies, they still haven't learned. They even lost a large chunk of their agency when CSIS was created (who essentially were just former RCMP agents who resigned and were re-hired by CSIS and who themselves have multiple scandals uncovered) and have been generally viewed as one of the worst, least trustworthy and honest police force in the Western world. This latest recommendation is surprising to exactly noone.

The covert security apparatus in Canada has become the greatest economic and social National Security threat. This is coming from a guy who has the utmost respect for men and women in uniform.

These facts are extremely important to American and European companies who believe they will enter the Canadian market and be immune from state intervention.

Time for civilian governance at RCMP, watchdog says in harassment report

The RCMP has done so little to reform its dysfunctional workplace culture that the Mounties' watchdog is calling for the federal government to introduce civilian governance of the national police force.

"The RCMP will not be able to bring about the necessary change required to address its dysfunctional culture on its own," wrote Ian McPhail, chair of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP.

"A change in governance is required, and such change must come from the outside."

The report into workplace harassment in the RCMP states that bullying and abuse of authority within the force is so bad, it threatens its very ability to police the country.

"Not only have members indicated to the commission that criminal investigations have been undermined by the harassing and abusive conduct of supervisors, but it also appears likely that workplace harassment is aggravating chronic problems of under staffing within the RCMP," wrote McPhail.

Among his recommendations:

  • The public safety minister direct RCMP to recruit civilian experts to take over senior non-policing roles.
  • The RCMP institute rigorous, mandatory leadership development programs for its executives.
  • Mounties should hire skilled investigators from outside RCMP to conduct harassment investigations.
  • Improve harassment policies, procedures and training.
During a news conference in Ottawa to formally release the report, commission lawyer Emma Phillips said the RCMP has been slow to change despite repeated calls for action. She said there has been a "distinct lack of follow-through and accountability."

"The initiatives that have been introduced have been short-lived or ad hoc," she said. "And unfortunately the effect of these one short-term initiative after another is to erode the confidence of the members that any real change will ever actually be realized."

Retaliation and reprisals are prevalent, with officers reporting being marginalized, transferred, denied use of a police car or time off.

Some have been denied backup or been left alone at a crime scene. That, she said, could endanger the lives of officers.

"There is a concern that safety of officers could be affected," she said.

Phillips said RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson received a copy of the report several weeks ago, but has not yet responded. She said the blame can not be pinned on any one single commissioner or senior management team, and that the situation has persisted and evolved over generations.

Threats and abuse
While the report strays from a strict examination of harassment, the commission did review 264 harassment complaints filed between 2013 and 2016.

Typical complaints reviewed by the commission included verbal insults and abuse, transferring officers to another detachment as punishment, entering a Mountie's home without legal justification, repeatedly dropping in on people who are off on sick leave and tampering with police reports to undermine an officer's credibility.

The report also highlights how preoccupied many members are with being subject to reprisals for reporting harassment.

Some detailed retaliation they had experienced first hand. More than one explained how supervisors denied them back-up on calls, sometimes involving weapons.

CBC News has heard several similar stories from Mounties over the years but has been unable to report them as officers explained they were too scared to speak publicly.

Sexual harassment
One senior manager told the commission's investigators that bullying isn't restricted to those in lower-ranking positions either.

"The bullying is rampant and out of control at this level. There is no such thing as transparency or fairness...The fear of threats and repercussions to anyone who speaks up or out is very, very, very real at this level."

And despite an overhaul of the internal disciplinary process in 2014 that Paulson said would help him fire 'bad apples' more efficiently, members told the commission how some managers use the threat of formal discipline as a tool of intimidation.

While the commission reports only a small number of complaints about sexual harassment, McPhail wrote it is still a serious problem in side the RCMP.

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