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2005 November Report of the Auditor General of Canada Chapter 1—Royal Canadian Mounted Police—Contract Policing

2005 November Report of the Auditor General of Canada

Chapter 1—Royal Canadian Mounted Police—Contract Policing

Main Points

Introduction

Observations and Recommendations

Setting priorities and measuring and reporting performance

Managing human resources

Billing for services provided

Aboriginal policing

Conclusion

About the Audit

Appendix—List of recommendations

Exhibits:

1.1—RCMP contract policing services are provided in 8 provinces, 3 territories, 192 municipalities, and 556 Aboriginal communities

1.2—Roles and responsibilities in contract policing

1.3—The RCMP discusses priorities with provinces and territories but needs to improve performance reporting

1.4—The number of contract detachments with long-term absences in excess of 20 percent has increased

1.5—There is a lack of compliance with key areas of the Canada Labour Code, Part II

1.6—National requalification and recertification rates for mandatory training areas, 2004

1.7—Shortage of peace officers for federal and contract policing activities

1.8—RCMP agreements for policing services to Aboriginal communities—a summary

1.9—Our assessment of community tripartite agreement commitments

Case Studies:

1.1—Dispute remains unresolved between the Northwest Territories and the Government of Canada

1.2—Negotiating community tripartite agreements without sufficient resources

Main Points

What we examined

The federal government, through the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (formerly the Solicitor General), enters into contracts under which the Royal Canadian Mounted Police provides policing services to 8 provinces (all except Ontario and Quebec), 3 territories, and 192 municipalities. The RCMP also provides policing services to certain Aboriginal communities in the provinces and territories where it acts as the provincial police force.

We examined whether the RCMP meets its obligations under these contracts and whether it reports back to its clients on its performance. We looked at whether it is training and deploying its police workforce to meet its service standards and its contract obligations. (While this report discusses training and safety in general, we did not audit and do not comment on specific incidents that are under investigation by the RCMP or other bodies.) We also examined whether the RCMP bills for its policing services properly in accordance with each Provincial Policing Services Agreement (PPSA) or other agreements. And we looked at whether Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada has assurance that the RCMP is meeting its commitments to provide policing services on reserves, under the federal government's First Nations Policing Policy.

Why it's important

The RCMP's ability to carry out its responsibilities effectively is central to the safety and security of Canadians. The RCMP is the largest police force in Canada and the primary police force for 20 percent of Canadians, in urban centres as well as small isolated communities. Contract policing accounts for $1.6 billion in annual spending—$1.1 billion of which is recovered from provinces, territories, and municipalities.

What we found

The departments have responded. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada have agreed with each of our recommendations and have committed to take action, within the scope of their authority, on the concerns we raise in this chapter.

Introduction

1.1 Effective policing is a fundamental requirement for a safe and secure society. Canada has close to 60,000 peace officers employed in municipal, provincial, and federal police organizations. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is by far Canada's largest police force, and contract policing—providing policing services under contract to provinces, territories, municipalities, and First Nations reserves—is its largest activity, occupying almost 60 percent of its 18,471 peace officers.

1.2 Contract policing ranges from large urban detachments in the lower mainland area of British Columbia, such as Richmond and Surrey, to remote and isolated posts in Canada's North. In some instances, the nearest detachment responding to a call could be three or four hours away from the incident. (See photographs)

Maintaining law and order is a provincial and territorial responsibility

1.3 The administration of justice within provincial and territorial boundaries, including the enforcement of the Criminal Code, is the constitutional responsibility of provincial and territorial governments. Rather than establish their own police services, however, most provinces, territories, and many municipalities contract for the RCMP's services. Contract policing has a budget of $1.6 billion annually, $1.1 billion of which is recovered from clients. Exhibit 1.1 indicates where these services are provided.

1.4 The RCMP's contract policing activities consist of three programs:

1.5 While contract policing services are not a federal responsibility, the RCMP reports that the federal government receives benefits from providing the services to provinces, territories, and municipalities. It notes that contract policing

1.6 According to the RCMP, provinces and territories also benefit from

1.7 The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (formerly the Solicitor General) is the Minister responsible for the RCMP. Supported by Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC), the Minister is responsible for negotiating and maintaining the federal, provincial, and territorial policing services agreements, and the agreements for Aboriginal policing. In addition, PSEPC provides the Minister with advice and recommends strategic direction for policies and programs including policing. Exhibit 1.2 depicts these relationships.

Contract policing agreements

1.8 The RCMP has been involved in contract policing services since 1928, when the first provincial agreement was negotiated. Today, each participating province and territory has a Provincial (or Territorial) Policing Services Agreement (PPSA or TPSA), with terms requiring the provinces to pay 70 percent and the federal government to pay 30 percent of the policing costs. Current PPSA and TPSA agreements were signed in 1992 and are in effect until 31 March 2012. (See photographs)

1.9 In general, municipalities in contract provinces with populations greater than 15,000 that have the RCMP as their police force, pay 90 percent of their policing agreement's costs while the federal government pays 10 percent. There are two exceptions where the municipalities pay 100 percent. Municipalities with populations less than 15,000 pay 70 percent while the federal government pays 30 percent.

1.10 Aboriginal policing is delivered through the Provincial Policing Services Agreement (PPSA) and in some cases through community tripartite agreements (CTAs) between band councils, provinces, and the federal government. At the time of our audit there were 75 tripartite agreements in place across Canada, under which the provinces pay 48 percent of the costs of policing, and the federal government, through PSEPC, covers the 52 percent federal share. PSEPC is also responsible for an Aboriginal policing program that predates CTAs—the Aboriginal Community Constable Program (ACCP). That program funds agreements between the provinces/territories and the federal government in five provinces and two territories, with the province paying 54 percent of the costs and PSEPC the remaining 46 percent.

The nature of policing has changed

1.11 The nature of policing has changed significantly since the current agreements (PPSA) were signed in 1992. At that time, the RCMP was in the early stages of formalizing its community policing program, which is designed to help prevent crime while supporting the social needs of the community.

1.12 New pressures and increased expectations from both the public and the courts have affected policing. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms introduced requirements for police organizations to disclose more information, and evidence is challenged more readily. Peace officers must therefore spend more time preparing documentation and less on street duties.

1.13 The events of September 11, 2001 brought to the forefront the importance of enforcement agencies working together. In response, the RCMP has worked to enhance further co-operation among peace officers in Canada's law enforcement community by sharing intelligence, tools, and innovations. This integrated policing activity also encourages the sharing of information among different RCMP program activities and investigative units.

Focus of the audit

1.14 This audit examined selected areas of contract policing services provided in accordance with policing standards and with contractual commitments entered into by Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada. We examined the activities of PSEPC and the RCMP related to contract police services provided to provinces, territories, and First Nation communities; we did not examine contract police services at airports. We focussed on how the RCMP

More details on our scope, objectives, approach, and criteria can be found at the end of the chapter in About the Audit.

Observations and Recommendations

Setting priorities and measuring and reporting performance

The RCMP accountability framework is different from those of other police forces

1.15 Many police forces take direction from, and answer to, police advisory boards. The RCMP does not, although it discusses issues with community leaders. Furthermore, through the terms of its policing agreements, it is obligated to take into account the priorities of provinces, territories, and municipalities and is answerable to them on operational matters. Each division prepares an annual report in accordance with its provincial and territorial agreements. As a whole, the RCMP is accountable solely to the federal government, through the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

Contract clients help set priorities but receive limited information on progress

1.16 Establishing priorities is important as it forms the basis for decisions on the allocation of resources, choices between programs, and the locations of detachments, among other things. Under the terms and conditions of policing service agreements with provinces, territories, and municipalities, the RCMP is to implement its clients' priorities for contract policing and report the extent to which it met them.

1.17 We therefore expected that the RCMP would consult regularly with its clients when setting priorities and that it would monitor and report to them on its progress, consistent with its contract obligations and good business practices. This is important, not only to comply with the agreement but also to maintain good working relations with clients. We reviewed policing contracts and RCMP performance plans and reports both at headquarters and in the regions. Through the audit, we also interviewed representatives of contract policing clients from each province and territory and more than 20 municipalities.

1.18 The RCMP tracks its priorities and activities but does not measure performance. To implement its priorities, the RCMP uses a management tool referred as the balanced scorecard. This management tool allows the RCMP to track its progress in carrying out activities and processes. While these activities may be sound management practices, they are not consistently aligned with its clients' priorities. The balanced scorecard tracks activities necessary to produce the outputs that may contribute to outcomes, but it does not provide information on actual outcomes—for example, "Safe homes, safe communities." The RCMP annually establishes initiatives at the federal and divisional levels. Responsibility for each initiative is assigned to an individual, and a series of actions are defined. During the year, the RCMP monitors its progress by noting which actions have been completed. However, this does not give an overall picture of performance.

1.19 The RCMP also monitors the procedural quality of its operations at the detachment level, by conducting "managerial reviews." Each year a limited number of detachments are chosen in each division, and operations are examined in such areas as financial management, shift scheduling, quality of investigations, and custody of evidence.

1.20 The RCMP consults with provinces and territories, but reporting can be improved. We found that the RCMP does a reasonable job of consulting with provinces and territories (Exhibit 1.3). There is ongoing dialogue on priorities in each location. Each year, the commanding officer of each RCMP division consults with provincial or territorial representatives to understand their objectives and priorities for the coming year. The commanding officer discusses how well the RCMP can meet provincial and territorial priorities, and the commanding officer shares the RCMP's priorities with them. However, in our review of six provinces and territories we found a formal agreement on their priorities in only one province, and only one in which there was any recorded agreement on the measures to be used to assess performance.

1.21 Reporting against provincial and territorial priorities is generally poor. At the end of a reporting cycle, each division prepares an annual report, which is forwarded to the province or territory, as required by the PPSA and TPSA. However, these reports do not address how well the RCMP did in delivering police services or in implementing a province's or territory's priorities.

1.22 The process is less defined for municipalities and smaller communities. The Municipal Policing Services Agreement (MPSA) for each municipality provides the framework for the relationship between the municipality, the province, and the RCMP division and detachment. Each of these agreements follows the same format, and allows the municipality to set objectives, priorities, and goals for its municipal police service. Under each MPSA, the detachment commander is required to report on law enforcement and the implementation of the municipality's objectives, priorities, and goals.

1.23 In the municipalities we visited, we found that the RCMP detachment commander consults with the municipalities, but the acceptance, implementation, and reporting against the municipality's priorities are not clear. The reporting relationship between the RCMP and the municipalities varied from a verbal report given to a city council to a half-hour video program. The reports did not clearly address the municipality's priorities. The RCMP does not establish indicators to measure its progress in implementing the communities' priorities; in many cases, it does not have the data needed to measure this performance.

1.24 Smaller municipalities and communities fall under the general provincial police services agreements and do not have their own municipal policing agreements. As a result, there is no contractual requirement for the RCMP to agree on their priorities and report progress against those priorities. However, these are good practices and would be consistent with the RCMP's objectives for community policing. From our interviews, we found that the commanders of RCMP detachments meet with community representatives, often informally. But this practice is not consistent, especially where the detachment provides services to more than one community.

1.25 In small communities, the detachment commander may provide a crime report to the community, which provides minimal statistics on crime and calls for assistance. However, it provides no agreed-upon performance information on how well the RCMP is providing police services. As a result, the RCMP is missing an opportunity to be more responsive to the communities it serves.

1.26 Recommendation. The RCMP should, in consultation with the concerned province or territory, establish community plans with representatives of each community it serves, setting out the community's expectations for performance and the RCMP's commitments, their mutual priorities, how progress will be measured, and actions to be taken if the expectations are not achieved.

RCMP's response. We agree. The RCMP recognizes the value of community plans as they facilitate continued communication between the RCMP and the community concerning police services and the community's policing expectations.

The Police Service Agreement states the establishment of policing priorities is the responsibility of the contracting jurisdiction and therefore, the contracting jurisdictions will have to be consulted.

The recommendation to implement community plans will be discussed with the contracting jurisdictions at the Contract Advisory Committee meetings in February 2006 and June 2006.

1.27 Recommendation. The RCMP should track its progress toward meeting the agreed-upon performance expectations and should report to the client regularly.

RCMP's response. We agree. As per Article 4.2 of the Provincial Police Service Agreement, the RCMP is obligated to meet regularly with representatives of the Provincial jurisdiction to discuss a variety of issues pertaining to the delivery of policing services including outcomes.

The community plans referred to in Recommendation 1.26 contain a mechanism to track performance expectations and report to the communities. As per the PPSA, this aspect will be discussed with the contracting jurisdictions at the Contract Advisory Committee meetings in February 2006 and June 2006.

Surveys provide limited information on performance

1.28 Since 2003, the RCMP has used surveys at the national level to

We analyzed these surveys to determine their usefulness as performance data for the RCMP.

1.29 We found that the survey of the general public was useful in providing an indication of the overall level of satisfaction with RCMP performance. Furthermore, the RCMP has made efforts to improve the quality of information gained from these surveys. In 2005, it changed its delivery approach from a mail-out to a telephone survey, which improved response rates from 23 percent to 48 percent. They also began to conduct this survey in multiple languages to gain broader feedback from a variety of Canadians. The general public survey responses show a high level of satisfaction with the RCMP.

1.30 The surveys of the other three groups (provincial, territorial, and municipal clients; other police forces; and other stakeholders) provide similar information on the RCMP's performance. As with the general public survey, these additional surveys focussed on the RCMP's five strategic priorities. However, while the survey of these groups contains some additional questions relevant to the particular groups, the questions may be too general to identify opportunities for improvement. For example, a survey respondent may deal with the RCMP on numerous activities, including DNA analysis, fingerprints, and case files; therefore, their level of satisfaction may vary for each of these different activities. We note that these surveys have been in use for only two years and, while they may provide general impressions, there are opportunities for further improvement before using them as a diagnostic or management tool.

Managing human resources

Inadequacies found in identifying resources required for contract policing

1.31 The RCMP staffs over 600 detachments to meet the needs of hundreds of communities in its provincial, territorial, and municipal contract policing programs. Under the contract policing agreements, the RCMP is responsible for determining the minimum standard of policing needed to maintain law and order and the safety of peace officers. It is also responsible for recommending to its clients the number of peace officers it believes are needed to deliver the services its clients have requested. It is then obligated to provide the number of peace officers requested by its clients.

1.32 We expected that the RCMP would have assessed its human resource needs, both to meet its minimum standard and to be able to demonstrate to its clients the basis for its resource recommendations. We analyzed data from the RCMP Human Resources Management Information System (HRMIS); reviewed internal studies and files; and conducted interviews in numerous detachments, divisions, and headquarters.

1.33 We found that the RCMP has not clearly defined a minimum standard for each province and territory. In 2003, an internal RCMP survey confirmed that there was no clear definition of a minimum standard for provinces, which was seen as a major problem when trying to justify levels of human resources that it requested. Instead, the RCMP has chosen to only define a minimum standard during negotiations with provinces, which has happened twice during this agreement. The RCMP believes that defining a minimum standard would provide a false sense of flexibility to the contracting jurisdiction and be detrimental to maintaining or augmenting the level of police in the jurisdictions.

1.34 Recommendation. The RCMP should, in consultation with each province or territory, clearly define its minimum standard for policing as stated in the Provincial Police Service Agreement.

RCMP's response. We agree. The RCMP defines the "minimum standard" as the minimum number of resources required to provide policing services within a contract jurisdiction. Every year consultation occurs between the contracting jurisdictions and the RCMP, to determine the level of policing services. Should a contracting jurisdiction indicate a desire to reduce the level of policing service to a level, which is assessed by the RCMP to be below an acceptable and safe level, the "minimum standard" is determined using the variables identified in the Provincial Police Service Agreement: Interpretation and Administrative Procedures.

The Police Service Agreement provides that this is an area where the contracting jurisdictions have an interest. Consultation will take place at the next Contract Advisory Committee discussions in February 2006 and June 2006.

1.35 To estimate how many peace officers are needed to provide requested services in each location, the RCMP uses five different methodologies—a different methodology for each region. In 2001, an internal study found that none of these methodologies was capable of accurately forecasting needs and adequately allocating them by detachment. Each methodology only estimates the number of peace officers needed to address emergencies, such as responding to 911 calls. They do not take into account the number of peace officers needed for community policing aimed at reducing crime. In practice, we found that the number of peace officers that a given province recommended is based more on how much the province is willing to pay for police services than on the resource requirements identified. (See photograph)

1.36 The RCMP is currently piloting a new national model for resource allocation. The new model estimates the level of day-to-day activities that a detachment can handle and examines the impact of various staff allocations on the level of service provided to the community. The RCMP anticipates that this new model will help in identifying resource levels for contract policing based on the expectations and priorities of the community. The RCMP reports positive results from the initial pilots in seven of its detachments. (See photograph)

1.37 We found that the new model is based only on estimates of time spent on certain activities because the RCMP has no time-recording system for contract policing. To ensure that the model is useful and accurate, the RCMP will need to validate its estimates and assumptions regularly. The RCMP plans to introduce the new model in April 2006.

Inadequacies in filling staff absences leave numerous gaps in detachments

1.38 The RCMP has, for the most part, met its contract obligations to staff contract positions requested by its clients (see also paragraph 1.75). Once detachments are staffed, however, they can still experience short- and long-term absences due to illness, injuries, and parental leave. This is a particular concern in small detachments, which do not have the capacity to cover these shortfalls without transferring in additional peace officers. We therefore expected that the RCMP would have analyzed and addressed its short- and long-term absences in detachments.

1.39 Instead, we found that the RCMP does not regularly collect and analyze information on its nationwide absences to identify whether headquarters needs to make adjustments to its numbers to cover these absences. The Human Resources Management Information System (HRMIS) captures data on absences, but the data have not been used in managing resource allocation.

1.40 In the absence of RCMP analysis, we requested data from the HRMIS that provided "snapshots" of absences, by division. After looking at various dates during the year, we chose 31 March of each year as the most complete, and compared it to the same date in each of the past five years. In 2005, contract policing had an absence rate of almost seven percent nationwide. At the provincial level, it ranged from one percent to ten percent, and at the municipal level, it varied from zero to thirteen percent.

1.41 Peace officer absences can be more significant at the detachment level, because they are often not replaced, and the remaining peace officers in the detachments must take on the additional work, or it is not done. During the past five years, the number of contract detachments with long-term absences (over 30 days) in excess of 20 percent has increased from a total of 51 to 85 (Exhibit 1.4). Furthermore, this absenteeism rate does not include peace officers on short-term absences (up to 30 days) due to illness, holidays, suspensions, and training. It also does not include shortages due to unstaffed positions.

1.42 The situation is aggravated by the lack of established mechanisms to provide short- and long-term replacements for absences. While commanders may use ad-hoc solutions such as temporary redeployment or covering calls for service from neighbouring detachments, these absences can remain open for extended periods of time. This places the RCMP at risk of overloading the remaining peace officers in these detachments.

1.43 The RCMP is at risk of not meeting future resource demands. The RCMP faces a number of demographic challenges that have implications for levels of resources and training. It estimates that it will lose from 600 to 700 of its almost 11,000 contract peace officers for each of the next five years through attrition. The RCMP projects a demand for almost 1,400 new cadets a year over the next four years, mostly due to increased demands from the provinces, territories, and municipalities. The current capacity of its training facility in Regina (Depot) provides for only 1,200 graduates annually and cannot be increased in the near term.

1.44 The RCMP has projects under way. When faced with absences and resource shortages, there are a variety of alternative approaches available to the RCMP. The RCMP has the following projects under way, which could relieve some of the pressure:

1.45 While these projects hold promise, the RCMP has not fully assessed other possible opportunities. One alternative approach not sufficiently explored by the RCMP is that of "tiered" policing—a concept that allows employees to perform restricted duties at a cost less than for a fully trained peace officer. Many jurisdictions in England have employed community support officers, who spend much of their time on the street, interacting with the public—a useful program in an urban setting. Another strategy would be to use custodial officers for accompanying prisoners instead of taking RCMP peace officers away from their regular duties. In our opinion, the RCMP has not done enough research to assess the potential benefits and constraints of these alternatives.

1.46 Recommendation. The RCMP should, in consultation with the concerned province or territory, take action to ensure that it has the capacity to respond to staff absences and human resource shortages.

RCMP's response. We agree. The RCMP is working to increase capacity at its training facilities to meet our existing and emerging human resource needs. In addition, we are pursuing opportunities to augment this through an increase in lateral entries and expanded use of the reserve program.

Consultation with the provinces and territories is ongoing and is particularly critical during the Annual Reference Level Update (ARLU) process, whereby resource requirements are better refined for the purposes of forecasting needs and resources.

To ensure accurate and timely human resource information, we are examining our information management systems for enhanced business intelligence opportunities to enable the improved tracing of short-term and long-term absences.

Gaps in training may compromise the health and safety of peace officers and the public

1.47 Training is an essential component of any police force. To ensure its peace officers are prepared to fulfill their duties, the RCMP provides new cadets with six months of training at its facility in Regina and an additional six months of on-the-job training. There are also numerous mandatory and specialist training courses that RCMP peace officers take on an ongoing basis. Contract clients expect the RCMP to provide fully trained peace officers. Furthermore, the Canada Labour Code (CLC) Part II—Occupational Health and Safety, requires that employers provide health and safety programs to prevent accidents and injury to health arising from, linked with, or occurring in the course of employment. CLC Part II provisions also require that employers ensure that the workplace health and safety of every person employed by the employer is protected. This requires the employer to, among other things, investigate, record, and report hazardous occurrences; establish health and safety committees; and provide training to employees. Since 2001, the RCMP has been required to comply with the CLC Part II.

1.48 We expected the RCMP to provide sufficiently trained personnel to meet its own service standards and its contract obligations. We also expected that it would comply with applicable provisions of the Canada Labour Code. We interviewed staff at headquarters and in the field and reviewed the CLC Part II regulations, RCMP health and safety documentation, injury and training reports, and Health and Safety Committee minutes.

1.49 Non-compliance with Canada Labour Code Part II. In 1999, the RCMP started to develop a safety management program intended to be "equal to, or better than that afforded by the Canada Labour Code." Over the past six years, the RCMP has undertaken a variety of actions, including developing a governance structure, policy, workplace health and safety committees, an inventory of high-risk activities, and training for management and staff. During 2000, each division contributed to a list of 235 high-risk activities, which were subsequently reduced to 17 high-risk areas. During our examination, we found that there was a lack of compliance in some key areas of the Canada Labour Code Part II, which are outlined in Exhibit 1.5 and the remainder of this section.

1.50 We noted that the RCMP has made progress in some aspects of the Canadian Labour Code Part II, such as setting up workplace health and safety committees; however, by March 2005 only 609 of its 1,604 committee members had been trained in their responsibilities. It is too early to conclude whether these committees are achieving the intended results. The RCMP has also started to assist with the earlier return to work for peace officers who have been absent for medical leave, allowing them to do administrative duties rather than waiting for them to be able to perform front-line police services.

1.51 We found that the RCMP is inconsistent in collecting, analyzing, and reporting costs associated with health and safety, even though its information systems can capture the necessary data. Such inconsistency does not allow for appropriate corrective action to be taken. Contributing factors to this problem include the following:

1.52 We analyzed data from the RCMP and found that the costs associated with medical leave, and gradual return to work for those recovering from medical leave, have more than doubled in the past five years.

1.53 Recommendation. The RCMP should take immediate action to ensure that it complies with the Canada Labour Code, Part II.

RCMP's response. We agree. Efforts are being made to update our national human resource information management system so as to provide a more accurate picture of our status and to improve compliance mechanisms. At the same time, any identified gaps in Canada Labour Code training for employees and supervisors are being addressed.

Gaps in completing training for newly graduated cadets

1.54 Newly graduated cadets must finish a six-month field coaching program to complete their training in the field. The field coaching program requires that graduates be coached by a senior peace officer who has completed a coaching course and be paired with the new cadet full-time for their first eight weeks in service. We were informed in interviews that new cadets were not always paired full-time with a coach for the first eight weeks. The RCMP refers to resource shortfalls in the field as a contributing factor. A recent RCMP survey found that

These findings are particularly significant because, as a result of increased hiring, over one third of the peace officers working in four provinces and two territories have been in the RCMP less than four years.

1.55 Recommendation. The RCMP should ensure that all newly graduated cadets receive the full field coaching program as required.

RCMP's response. We agree. The RCMP has a National Field Coaching Program Coordinator in place to manage and implement a modern, six-month Field Coaching program. The process, which pairs newly-graduated cadets with a member who has successfully completed the Field Coaching Course, will be a pre-requisite reflected in the revised policy, with implementation to follow in the next fiscal year.

Failure to requalify and recertify for mandatory training

1.56 To ensure the safety and security of its peace officers and of the public, the RCMP requires that all of the peace officers requalify in the use of pistol, baton, pepper spray, and carotid control (neck hold); and recertify in first aid and CPR. Peace officers must requalify in these skill sets every one to three years, depending on the requirement. Additional requalifications are required for more specialized duties. We analyzed compliance with mandatory requalification and recertification applicable to all RCMP peace officers. The available data were nationwide, including federal policing. It is reasonable to expect that all RCMP peace officers comply with their mandatory training requirements, as these peace officers could be redeployed to respond to emergencies.

1.57 As noted in Exhibit 1.5, of particular concern is the result on requalification in pistols, which was identified in 2001 by the RCMP as one of the 17 health and safety related hazards. Exhibit 1.6 shows national requalification and recertification rates for mandatory training areas. Overall, the number of peace officers that met all six mandatory training requirements dropped from 57 percent in 2003 to 6.2 percent in 2004.

1.58 We found that gaps in training may be preventing the RCMP from meeting its clients' expectations of fully trained peace officers. It may also be leaving itself open to the risk of litigation. The RCMP is not effectively managing the risk of increased litigation as it is not thoroughly analyzing lawsuits and settlements to determine causal factors, trends, and corrective measures that can reduce them in the future.

1.59 Recommendation. The RCMP should ensure that all peace officers remain up-to-date in their mandatory training requalification and recertification.

RCMP's response. We agree. The RCMP recognizes the importance of ensuring a ready workforce and is taking action to address gaps in training and data collection. As per the Canada Labour Code, Part II, the RCMP's national Policy Health and Safety Committee continues to closely monitor progress on this training and is working to ensure compliance.

Billing for services provided

1.60 Each year, the RCMP bills the clients of its contract policing services (municipalities, provinces, and territories) over $1 billion for police services. It is important to ensure that clients are not overcharged or undercharged and that they are satisfied with the way their bills are calculated. Clients particularly want to know that they have been billed accurately in the past as they prepare to renegotiate their policing agreements, which all expire in 2012. We looked at whether the RCMP billed its clients in accordance with the policing agreements and whether it applied the terms of the agreements to all clients consistently.

Processes are in place to ensure that clients are billed in accordance with agreements

1.61 We expected that the RCMP would have enough documentation and analysis to support its calculation of billed amounts. We selected a sample of 2003–04 billings to clients and audited the systems and practices in place that calculate, verify, and authorize the amounts billed to contract clients. We did not perform a detailed examination of the accuracy of individual transactions recorded by the RCMP. The work needed to provide such an assurance would have been beyond the scope of this audit.

1.62 We found that the processes used to calculate and bill for contract policing costs are adequate to ensure compliance with the terms of policing agreements. However, certain financial clauses in the policing agreements are open to interpretation. Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC) is responsible for drafting and approving the financial clauses in the agreement on behalf of Canada. The RCMP interprets the clauses to deliver the required services. We found that in certain regions, the RCMP has not applied the same interpretation to its respective clients—thereby billing different rates or amounts for the same services. This could lead to differences that are significant to its clients. For example, we noted two divisions using different methods to calculate the division's administrative cost component, so the clients of one division were billed on a different basis from the clients of the other division.

1.63 RCMP headquarters has made some effort to address the issue of inconsistent interpretation and to reach national consensus. For example, it issued national guidance for calculating administrative costs that are billed to clients. Still, we noted a general lack of adequate and timely guidance from headquarters and no formal action plan for resolving inconsistencies in the calculation of billed administrative costs nationwide.

1.64 At the regional level, we found that review and formal approval of the annual cost calculations were limited before the final billing was sent to its clients. In some regions, there was no evidence of final approval by an appropriate level of authority, such as the regional financial officer or the deputy commissioner. In regions that did have review and approval processes, these often were informal and not fully documented. At the national level of the RCMP, we found that there was no review or approval process for provincial or municipal annual cost calculations.

1.65 Recommendation. The RCMP should ensure that it interprets the billing formulas in contract policing agreements, so that the formulas are applied consistently from client to client.

RCMP's response. We agree. The RCMP will ensure that all billing formulas are applied consistently to all clients as per the Policing Agreements.

While financial disputes are rare, there is no established process to address them

1.66 It is normal that disputes over billing practices may occur in large contracts. To ensure client satisfaction and timely, effective resolution of disputes, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada and the RCMP need to have a formal process in place to resolve disputes with clients. There is a forum to discuss issues related to policing contracts, called the Contract Advisory Committee, which consists of policing officials from Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, all contract provinces and territories, and the RCMP.

1.67 We found that the RCMP and its contract policing clients have had very few disputes over the administration of the policing agreements, and client relations are good overall. Although the RCMP is currently developing its own dispute resolution process, we noted that PSEPC and the RCMP have not established an integrated approach that clearly defines the federal role and their respective responsibilities for resolving disputes with clients. Furthermore, while PSEPC is responsible for resolving disputes, it has done little to develop any processes for doing so. Policing agreements do stipulate that disputes are to be resolved by PSEPC and the contract policing client, but we found no established process to resolve them. As a result, disputes may not be resolved in a co-ordinated, effective, and timely way. At the time of our audit, a significant dispute with the Northwest Territories still remains unresolved after 12 years (see the case study "Dispute remains unresolved between the Northwest Territories and the Government of Canada" for more details).

1.68 Recommendation. The RCMP and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada should jointly develop a formal dispute-resolution process for the federal government to ensure that issues are dealt with as they emerge.

Departments' response. We agree. While Article 16 of the Police Service Agreements provides a formal dispute resolution mechanism for resolving disputes between the federal government and contract jurisdictions, the RCMP and PSEPC will work together over the coming months to develop a formal dispute resolution process for the federal government to deal with federal issues as they emerge.

1.69 Provinces and territories were not consulted on changes in the RCMP's organizational structure. The policing agreements require that before any proposed change in its organizational structure is approved, the RCMP receive the consent of its clients. In 1997, five years after policing agreements were signed, the RCMP moved to a regional administrative structure while retaining a division in each province and territory. We found that while it notified its clients that this change was pending, it did not explicitly seek their consent before proceeding with the reorganization.

1.70 We reviewed correspondence files, interviewed representatives of the RCMP and its clients, and analyzed administrative costs over several years to determine whether the change to regionalization resulted in increased costs to clients. Instead, we found that the overall increase in administrative costs was not caused as much by regionalization as by increased health costs. Introducing a regional structure to consolidate certain redundant activities has resulted in cost savings for contract clients. However, poor communications with clients about the reorganization and subsequent impact on billing has created confusion and misunderstanding among clients about the nature and calculation of the divisional administrative costs billed to the clients.

The RCMP has effectively met its obligations to provide and bill for contract peace officers

1.71 As part of the audit, we expected that the RCMP would bill its clients the appropriate amounts for provincial or municipal policing activities. To determine whether the RCMP was billing provinces the appropriate amount, we reviewed the billing process in six divisions. Since the RCMP also conducts federal policing activities nationwide, we checked to see whether provincial or municipal resources were being used for federal policing activities or vice versa. We obtained data on both the required positions and the actual staff in both federal and contract policing activities and compared vacancy patterns in both activities going back five years.

1.72 As Exhibit 1.7 indicates, we found a distinct difference in vacancy patterns between federal and contract policing activities. Since 2001, the RCMP has for the most part met its contractual obligations to provide the required number of peace officers to its clients, but has done so to the detriment of staffing its federal policing activities.

1.73 We found vacancy rates of as much as 25 percent in certain federal policing units—including drug interdiction and organized crime—located in contract provinces. In allocating its resources, the RCMP has filled its contract policing vacancies first, leaving some federal positions unstaffed. Since 1999, when contract policing clients asked for more peace officers, the clients contributed their share of the added cost. However, the RCMP did not receive a budget increase to fully cover the federal share of the costs. It funded the shortfall by spending less on other programs, including federal policing. By not clearly separating contract and federal policing costs and activities, the RCMP cut back on its federal policing activities. Each time the level of contract policing services increases without a corresponding increase in the federal share of the RCMP's contract budget, the remaining RCMP policing activities suffer. If there was a means to clearly separate contract policing from other activities, such as a separate appropriation, this would contribute to better management of the program and more transparent information for Parliament.

1.74 This situation has arisen because the RCMP's expenditure budget has been managed like its Vote—as a single pot of funds. As a result, while contract clients have funded their increased requirements for peace officers without the RCMP's contract policing budget rising commensurately, the proportion of the RCMP's budget devoted to federal policing has had to decrease proportionally. This means that the full impact is applied to only the non-contract parts of the RCMP's budget—federal policing and other activities.

1.75 For the most part, the RCMP is providing the contract positions that are requested by its contract partners and is billing appropriately.

1.76 Recommendation. The RCMP should seek a means of clearly separating the funding, measurement, and reporting of its contract policing activities to avoid adverse impacts on its other activities when contract policing costs change.

RCMP's response. We agree. The RCMP, in consultation with Treasury Board Secretariat, is actively pursuing all viable options to distinctly separate Contract Policing from the other RCMP program activities.

Aboriginal policing

1.77 Providing policing services to First Nations poses unique challenges. Recognizing that police services to First Nations were insufficient, the federal government introduced the First Nations Policing Policy (FNPP) in June 1991. In explaining the need for this policy, the Solicitor General at the time noted that crime rates, particularly for violent crime, are significantly higher in First Nation communities than in the general public. The purpose of the FNPP is to

This policy provides the framework for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC) to negotiate with provinces and First Nations, on behalf of the federal government, for policing services to these communities. For many of these agreements, the RCMP is the police force tasked to provide these services.

1.78 Aboriginal policing is one of the RCMP's primary strategic priorities. Its stated plan is to contribute to safer and healthier Aboriginal communities by contributing to their long-term wellness and safety. It provides policing services to 556 Aboriginal communities under three forms of contractual arrangements:

Exhibit 1.8 summarizes the RCMP agreements for policing services to Aboriginal communities at the time of our audit.

1.79 Community tripartite agreements commit the RCMP to do the following:

The agreements commit assigned RCMP peace officers to

Agreements are not being implemented as stated

1.80 Community tripartite agreements and the Aboriginal Community Constable Program agreements are designed to ensure that there are RCMP peace officers assigned solely to First Nations communities. We expected that the policing services they provide would meet the requirements of the applicable agreements. To determine this, we reviewed agreements and related policy documents, RCMP activity data on all communities with CTAs, Aboriginal Community Constable Program agreements, and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada documentation of police involvement with First Nations communities. We also interviewed members of the RCMP, PSEPC, and provincial and territorial governments, as well as band chiefs and councils and other community leaders of 24 First Nations.

1.81 We found that the RCMP has no time-recording system for contract policing and does not track the amount of time that peace officers assigned under the community tripartite agreements on the Aboriginal Community Constable Program agreements spend in the community. Therefore, it cannot assure a band chief and council or PSEPC that its peace officers spend at least 80 percent of their time in the communities to which they are assigned. In the absence of a time-recording system, we assessed the files of peace officers assigned to serve First Nations communities, to approximate the percentage of activities conducted within their assigned communities. We found that in 2004 on average, more than 40 percent of the files of assigned peace officers originated outside the community—about 50 percent in the case of the Aboriginal Community Constable Program. Meanwhile, peace officers working under the Provincial Policing Services Agreement responded to 60 percent of all calls from communities with CTAs. This suggests that the responses from PPSA peace officers to calls in CTA communities more than offset those of CTA-assigned peace officers away from their assigned community. Exhibit 1.9 summarizes our assessment of whether peace officers under CTAs are meeting the commitments, based on our analysis of data and discussions with community leaders and RCMP peace officers.

1.82 We found that some of the agreements' clauses may not be achievable in all communities. For example, the amount of time that an assigned peace officer's efforts can be focussed in a specific community is dependent on whether there is a detachment in that community. Of the 115 First Nations that had CTAs in 2004, only 24 had a detachment or a policing office on the reserve. In these 24 communities, we noted that 85 percent of the assigned peace officers' files originated from calls in the community. In contrast, only 46 percent of assigned peace officers' files originated from calls in communities without detachments. Making a commitment to give 80 percent of an assigned peace officer's time in communities without detachments may not be feasible, given the existing infrastructure.

1.83 The requirement for a continuous RCMP presence also differs by community. Some First Nations provide security for their communities by establishing community constables. Reporting to the band chief and council, these constables are First Nations staff—not RCMP staff—and are present in the community to provide information and security awareness. These band members work closely with the RCMP peace officers, who continue to provide policing services. Community constables are generally less expensive than RCMP peace officers, and communities that have them told us that they have generally found that the community constables can work closely with the RCMP in a relationship that serves the community well. An internal RCMP study in Saskatchewan is exploring logistical, legal, and financial implications of formally supporting such initiatives. This option is not presently offered in the First Nations Policing Policy Program. In applying the standard form of agreement for all CTAs, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada and the RCMP have not kept pace with the changing nature of Aboriginal communities.

1.84 Recommendation. Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada should ensure that policing contracts for Aboriginal communities reflect the specific priorities of these communities and commitments for RCMP policing are realistic. The RCMP should also establish community plans specific to Aboriginal communities, as described in one of the earlier recommendations (paragraph 1.26).

Departments' response. We agree. First Nation input on the special needs of their communities has already been obtained and should be reflected in all new and renewed community tripartite agreements, starting in 2006–07. In addition, as part of the overall program evaluation, the department is presently reviewing the Band Constable Program and the Aboriginal Community Constable Program, which provide additional alternatives for addressing specific needs of communities. A decision on these programs will be made by January 2007.

With reference to the recommendation that the RCMP implement community plans, this issue will be discussed with the contracting jurisdictions at the Contract Advisory Committee meetings in February 2006 and June 2006.

Community tripartite agreements affect the RCMP's policing under provincial agreements

1.85 Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada signs agreements that commit the RCMP to providing services through community tripartite agreements. In doing so, however, the Department does not gain assurance from the RCMP that it will be able to meet these commitments with the assigned resources. Since the RCMP is not a party to the agreements, it does not formally agree that it can achieve the commitments made on its behalf by PSEPC. As mentioned in the case study Negotiating community tripartite agreements without sufficient resources, a proposed CTA with one First Nation was discontinued when the RCMP stated that it could not provide the expected level of service with the resources defined in the proposed agreement.

1.86 The development of community tripartite agreements (CTAs) has had a direct impact on the RCMP's ability to meet its commitments under the provincial policing services agreements. As new CTAs are established, provincial policing positions are often converted to CTA positions. Over the past five years, provinces have eliminated 36 PPSA positions with the creation of the 58 new CTA positions. Converting positions to service CTAs has effectively reduced the number of peace officers available from local detachments to respond to incidents in the surrounding areas.

1.87 Recommendation. Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada should formally include the RCMP in negotiating all new, and renewing all existing community tripartite agreements. In considering commitments, the RCMP should advise on the extent that it can address community priorities with proposed resources.

Departments' response. We agree. The new Service Agreements will address this recommendation. Since the agreements will be signed by the Detachment Commander, the RCMP will have full opportunity to participate in the process and provide advice on the extent to which the RCMP can address community priorities.

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada is not monitoring the implementation of contracts

1.88 We expected that PSEPC, as the federal government signatory to these agreements and the Department responsible for the First Nations Policing Policy, would monitor the extent to which the agreements are implemented. Instead, we found that PSEPC focussed almost entirely on establishing new agreements and renegotiating existing ones, with little effort given to overseeing existing agreements or tailoring agreements to communities' specific policing needs.

1.89 At the time of our audit, PSEPC was in the process of conducting a program evaluation of its First Nations Policing Policy. The RCMP was also evaluating the effectiveness of its Aboriginal policing program. We note, however, that there was no ongoing monitoring of the RCMP's performance in delivering CTA commitments.

1.90 Recommendation. Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada should monitor the RCMP's delivery of community tripartite agreement policing services to ensure that commitments are fulfilled.

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada's response. We agree. The department is developing a monitoring package, which will be fully implemented in 2006–07, along with Service Agreements and RCMP Community Plans. At the outset, the new process will require each Regional Manager to make a site visit to all the communities with which the department has a police service agreement.

Applicability of the First Nations Policing Policy north of 60º is uncertain

1.91 Recently, confusion has arisen over the applicability of the First Nations Policing Policy (FNPP) to the three territories in the North. The policy was to be established through tripartite agreements and applied consistently in all provinces and territories. The FNPP was to apply to all Indian reserves, to certain other Indian communities on Crown land, and to Inuit communities. There are many Aboriginal communities in the North and 20 RCMP positions funded in part through PSEPC's Aboriginal policing program. PSEPC also developed a framework agreement for community tripartite agreements with the Yukon and established one CTA in Laird River.

1.92 However, in 2003 PSEPC notified the territorial governments that it did not receive a mandate or a budget to pursue FNPP agreements in the territories. Since 2003, there have been no additional designated positions established in the territories and the federal government's commitment to Aboriginal policing in the North is unclear.

1.93 Recommendation. Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada should clarify its policy and program responsibilities for Aboriginal policing in the North. This should include whether the First Nations Policing Policy and community tripartite agreements apply to the territories.

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada's response. We agree. In June 2005, the Federal/Provincial/Territorial (F/P/T) Deputy Ministers approved the creation of a working group of theF/P/T Assistant Deputy Ministers' Committee on Policing Issues to address the question of the long-term sustainability and effectiveness of the First Nation Policing Policy. The Working Group, as part of its assignment, will look at policing in the Territories, including links to self-government. The Working Group is expected to conclude its work and present a final report by the Spring of 2007. At that time, the department will be better placed to decide on whether to expand the program to the Territories.

Conclusion

1.94 We found that the RCMP establishes priorities with provinces, territories, and municipalities for its policing services, although these discussions seldom result in formal agreements. The RCMP does not consistently set priorities with smaller communities and First Nations communities or adequately measure and report on its performance against the priorities established with its contract policing clients.

1.95 We also found that while the RCMP effectively fulfills its contract obligations to staff the required number of peace officers, it has not addressed the impact of short- and long-term absences due to injury, illness, and parental leave. The RCMP has not done enough research to assess the potential benefits and constraints of various alternative hiring strategies. Gaps in training, qualification, and certification may affect the health and safety of peace officers and the public.

1.96 The RCMP has a reasonable process to ensure that its billing practices are sound. While there have been few disputes, we found inconsistencies between regions in their billing practices. We also found that while the RCMP has mostly met its obligations to staff contract positions, it has done so to the detriment of staffing its federal policing positions.

1.97 The RCMP has not met key contractual commitments of community tripartite agreements, and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada has not assessed the RCMP's performance to ensure that community tripartite agreements are implemented as intended. Furthermore, CTAs are designed in such a way as to weaken the RCMP's ability to meet its other contract policing commitments.

About the Audit

Objectives

The objectives of our audit were to determine whether

Scope and approach

The audit examined the Federal Government's delivery of policing services to provinces, territories, and their municipalities under the provincial police services agreements and other related agreements. It also included the federal government's delivery of First Nations policing program agreements.

We audited Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and sought additional information from other departments as necessary. We conducted interviews, file reviews, and data analyses from the RCMP and PSEPC headquarters in Ottawa. We also conducted interviews and reviewed files and documentation in all divisions and 53 detachments, with contract policing responsibilities. We selected a group of small, medium, and large detachments in urban, rural, and isolated settings—including those having Aboriginal policing responsibilities—to provide reasonable coverage of contracting jurisdictions and a range of policing issues. We also consulted with RCMP clients from provincial, territorial, and municipal governments and First Nation band councils.

While this chapter discusses training and safety in general, we did not audit and do not comment on specific incidents that are under investigation by the RCMP or other bodies.

Criteria

We expected that

Audit team

Assistant Auditor General: Hugh McRoberts
Principal: Gordon Stock
Lead Director: Frank Barrett
Directors: Renée Pichard, Don Smith, Jocelyne Therrien

Darren Canning
Martin Dinan
Alexis Dusonchet
Dawn-Alee Fowler
Sami Hannoush
Kathryn Kyle
Steven Mariani
Shereen Sadek

For information, please contact Communications at (613) 995-3708 or
1-888-761-5953 (toll-free).


Definition:

Community policing—An approach to policing where the police and the community work together to develop methods for addressing local crime and disorder problems. The two core strategies of community policing are problem solving and community partnerships. (Back)