RCMP Should Focus on Retention, Not Lower Entry Standards

Published on December 23, 2018

Eliminating aptitude, vision, and hearing tests along with criminal / credit checks will not help the RCMP address critical staffing shortages. I have the highest respect for RCMP police officers. They are some of the most committed, professional, and loyal people I have ever worked with. They deserve our respect and gratitude. But they also deserve much better working conditions.

The following issues need to be addressed:

- Pay needs to be increased. Most municipal police forces pay much better salaries.

- There needs to be cost of living allowances for officers posted to cities with a much higher living cost (the military has been doing this for years).

- Harassment and bullying across the spectrum must be addressed. Although sexual harassment issues have received some public attention lately, it must be understood that the harassment problems are much wider ranging. A more wholistic approach must be taken to eliminate all forms of harassment.

- RCMP training remains too pre-occupied with its historical paramilitary roots. This needs to stop. Police officers and soldiers are two totally different jobs and require very different types of training.

- Training culture at Depot (basic training), though vastly improved in recent years, remains problematic and perpetuates a culture of harassment.

- New officers are almost always posted to remote, isolated locations. Officers are often at these locations for several years with little to no opportunity for a new posting. Officers become frustrated and disillusioned and often quit so they can join a municipal force to rectify the situation.

These postings should be limited to three years maximum and be strictly enforced.

- Officers posted to isolated or rural locations often have to work alone without backup or reinforcements. Officers finding themselves in a crisis situation may have to wait hours or days before help arrives. This has to stop.

- Formalized leadership training must be made mandatory throughout ones career progression.

- Better equipment and training needs to be provided. Until recently, officers were not trained on carbines or rifles. The training is taking too long and rifles / carbines are not yet provided to every officer. Too many lives have been lost because of this.

- The RCMP has the unenviable task of being two organizations built into one. The RCMP is our federal police force and is tasked with many of the same roles as the American FBI.

However; the RCMP must also provide community policing services to all provinces that do not have provincial police forces of their own. Currently only Ontario and Quebec have their own provincial police forces.

Therefore, recruits from Ontario and Quebec have little chance of being posted to their home province.

The RCMP must serve as the provincial police for the remainder of the country. Cities that have their own police force don’t require RCMP community policing. Typically small or isolated towns are unable to afford their own police force. In these cases the RCMP fills that roll. Hence why most first postings are to isolated locations.

The RCMP obtains much of its funding from provinces and municipalities without police forces of their own. Therefore our federal police force has no choice but to place a large amount of resources into community policing, and not nearly enough resources into prosecuting federal crimes.

Community policing and federal policing are not the same things.

Many new recruits join the RCMP with aspirations of federal policing, only to find out that such opportunities are few, and limited to only the luckiest.

If the RCMP wants to solve its staffing crisis, it needs to address retention. RCMP officers are quitting faster than they can be replaced. Reducing entry standards will not solve this problem.

Our RCMP officers must be provided better pay and better working conditions. The government must provide those resources.

I fully support trying to recruit more women and minorities into the police force, but reducing entry standards isn’t the answer. If we don’t solve the problems listed above, women and minorities will be victim to the same issues and suffer the same fate.

For more information on the changes the RCMP is considering, please click here.