Some immodest proposals on federal policing

If today’s RCMP is not what it should be, what to do? I can think of no other developed country (and probably no others of any size) that has a national police force responsible for the following types of law enforcement (I confess I don’t know quite the jurisdiction of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary):
-municipal policing (Ontario and Quebec and many cities in other provinces excepted)
-rural policing (all provinces except Ontario and Quebec)
-All policing in the territories
-highway patrol (all provinces except Ontario and Quebec, and the RCMP also does this on federal roads in Ottawa)
-Organized crime (drugs etc.)
-National security (terrorism, espionage)
-Border policing
-White collar crime (sometimes, e.g. Karlheinz Schreiber).
I’m sure I missed a few things.
It seems to me that all provinces should provide their own municipal, rural, and highway policing, by the means of their own choice. There then should be separate federal law enforcement agencies to deal with, in cooperation with the forces in provinces and municipalities as required:
1) Serious organized crime and national security matters (there are many common techniques involved, and both rely greatly on intelligence)
2) Border, airport, and port policing (this function should be part of the Canada Border Services Agency–think Vancouver Airport; one service might have done better)
3) The territories
4) White collar crime (small and mainly civilian, that is to say lawyers)
5) VIP protection.
Mark C.
Damian adds: the RNC is responsible for law enforcement in St. John’s, Corner Brook, Mount Pearl, Conception Bay South and Labrador City. The RCMP handles the rest of the province.


8 thoughts on “Some immodest proposals on federal policing

  1. I agree that the RCMP has become a bit of a mixed bag, and that’s one of the problems it faces–besides a corrupted corporate culture, bad training, unaccountability…well, don’t get me started.
    There is still a need for a national police force, which should, in my opinion, be rebuilt from the ground up, and have a much narrower mandate, as suggested here. It might be able to take on more than one of the responsibilities listed.
    With respect to the territories, it would be nice to see local people trained for the job. In Nunavut, fluent Inuktitut/Inuinnaqtun should be a basic requirement.
    Good post. There seems to be a lot of convergence on this one.

  2. I’ll add in that I think we ought to dismantle the thing too. I’d say that your 5 areas of responsibility are about what I’d agree on with the exception of (4). We lack harmonized securities rules so that may be best suited to the province until we get the national securities and exchange body that everyone keeps on about.

  3. Things I omitted that perhaps should also have a separate federal agency:
    National forensic lab; DNA, fingerprint data base; hand gun registry; and matters of that sort (profiling centre?). The Criminal Intelligence Service Canada would be under the organized crime/national security service.
    We already have FINTRAC as a distinct agency, for what it’s worth:
    And maritime policing would fall under 2), the CBSA, with the Canadian Coast Guard providing the “platforms” (i.e. vessels).,27961.msg550893.html#msg550893

  4. Sounds reasonable Mark but I’m a bit concerned about the policing of the territories and for that matter, the tops of the provinces.
    The coming years will be warmer and this will likely lead to boom and bust towns in the North as the resources become accessible. A patchwork system of independent police departments would be hamstrung by jurisdictional red tape and having to go through inter-force bureaucracies to get access to advanced (expensive) policing tools. Without the promise of advancement into something more than a municipal force, the bottom of the barrel will be worn through. Growth and contraction costs would also be a continuous drain on already tight budgets.
    As bad as the RCMP already suffer from these inevitable maladies of their “market” up north, at least they’ve got gas in their cars and bullets in their guns.
    But I will grant that they seem to suck at a lot of things that they’re supposed to be doing.
    I think there needs to be one more item on the list though:
    A federally coordinated law enforcement networked information management system. It has to be secure and even more importantly, open. The police should at least catch up to the 16 year olds in communications technology.

  5. Mark,
    For what I envision that we need (and can achieve), law enforcement agency control over it is a non-starter.
    If law enforcement is anything more than a client of a neutral system, the Orwellian aspects would be unacceptable to the public. This has to be civilian and seperate from any agency with a direct interest in the system’s contents.
    Also, I have no confidence that existing agencies could contribute anything useful other than a shopping list of requirements. Implementation from within would create security loopholes and inefficient hierarchies. For it to work, the access data must be as carefully kept as the data the system would hold.

  6. “The rest of the province” is about half of it, population-wise: the RNC and RCMP each have about 50% of the NL population in their geographical beats.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s