RCMP lacks resources to properly fight money laundering, terrorism, foreign interference: report

MP David McGuinty said it was clear that federal policing currently takes a back seat to contract policing

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OTTAWA — The RCMP’s ability to fight organized crime, terrorism, espionage and foreign interference and other serious federal crimes, is significantly lacking the needed money, resources and focus, according to a new Parliamentary report.

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) conducted a study of the RCMP’s federal policing mandate (FPM), which they tabled in Parliament on Tuesday. The Mounties are split between contract policing initiatives, where they serve as the local police in partnership with provinces, and federal policing, where they are focused on more serious crimes like foreign interference, espionage, money laundering and other crimes that cross borders and jurisdictions.

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NSICOP Chair MP David McGuinty said it was clear that federal policing takes a back seat to contract policing and everything from the RCMP’s training regime to their accounting puts those provincial contracts first.

The committee didn’t specifically call for the RCMP to get out of the contract policing system, but said it is time the government seriously consider the idea.

“It’s time for the federal government to stop long enough to examine the overall structure of the RCMP. It’s time for the minister to get more engaged in directing and helping to improve the situation on these fronts inside the RCMP,” McGuinty said.

The report found that under the current structure, the RCMP was not performing as well as it should when it came to investigating these serious crimes.

“On the basis of its review, the committee believes that federal policing is not and cannot function as effectively as it must to protect Canada and Canadians from the most significant national security and criminal threats. The government must act to ensure it does.”

McGuinty said the committee found that contract policing was draining nearly $700 million from federal policing budget, that federal policing had lost 600 positions over the last nine years and that the RCMP’s training program was devoted nearly exclusively to contract policing.

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“We broke it down by hours of training and, in total, a recruit in depot gets six hours of training on the RCMP’s federal mandate. That’s over six months,” he said. “The current model of training is quite simply ill suited for current investigative requirements.”

RCMP recruits can also not leave the training academy and go directly into a federal policing program. They instead begin their careers working in a local detachment as part of the contract policing program.

McGuinty said the people running the federal policing program have proposed creating their own training academy, but were turned down by senior Mounties.

Multiple other reports, including the Mass Casualty Commission into the Nova Scotia shooting, have called on the government to look at changes to how the RCMP is structured and to seriously consider an end to having the RCMP do contract policing across the country.

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McGuinty said the committee also found serious problems with data management in the RCMP, with three distinct computer systems being used for federal investigations, none of which communicated with the other, and many members storing information on personal hard drives.

He said senior Mounties have acknowledged these problems cause difficulty in investigations.

“The senior management team already said in 2021, because of these data problems, federal policing does not support evidence-based decision making,” McGuinty said. “If it’s not supporting evidence based decision making, what kind of decision making is it supporting right?”

More to come …

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