RCMP not fully pre­pared for ac­tive shoot­ers: AG

Force charged in 2017 for fail­ing to pro­vide ad­e­quate train­ing, equip­ment

The Sudbury Star - - CANADA - JIM BRONSKILL

The RCMP isn’t sure that all its of­fi­cers have ac­cess to the ri­fles and body ar­mour they need to re­spond to an ac­tive shooter, al­most five years af­ter three Moun­ties were gunned down in New Brunswick, Canada’s au­di­tor gen­eral has found.

In a re­port re­leased Tues­day, in­terim au­di­tor Syl­vain Ri­card said the national po­lice force has mis­man­aged the pur­chase, distribution and on­go­ing main­te­nance of semi-au­to­matic ri­fles known as car­bines.

In June 2014, a heav­ily armed as­sailant in Monc­ton, N.B., killed three Moun­ties and wounded two oth­ers. The RCMP had about 1,500 high-pow­ered car­bines na­tion­wide at the time but of­fi­cers in the Monc­ton de­tach­ment had not been trained to use them.

The RCMP was con­victed un­der the Canada Labour Code in 2017 of hav­ing failed to pro­vide members with the train­ing and equip­ment to deal with an attack that left the com­mu­nity reel­ing.

The po­lice force sub­se­quently bought thou­sands of car­bines but did not know whether it had pro­vided the ri­fles to all of the of­fi­cers who needed them, the au­di­tor gen­eral said.

The au­di­tor also dis­cov­ered the RCMP had enough hard body ar­mour across the coun­try but not all of­fi­cers had ac­cess to the equip­ment, which pro­tects of­fi­cers’ vi­tal or­gans from bul­lets.

“Over­all, we found that not all RCMP of­fi­cers had ac­cess to the equip­ment they needed to re­spond to an ac­tive-shooter sit­u­a­tion,” the re­port said.

The RCMP agreed with the au­di­tor’s var­i­ous rec­om­men­da­tions and out­lined plans to rem­edy the fail­ings, in­clud­ing progress to date.

The po­lice force re­al­ized in 2011 that its of­fi­cers lacked the firearms they needed to re­spond ef­fec­tively to crim­i­nals armed with deadly weapons. The Moun­ties bought 527 car­bines in 2012 and, as of last Oc­to­ber, had 6,211 of the short-bar­relled ri­fles in ser­vice.

In 2014, the force com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing the ri­fles to of­fi­cers who might be at risk. How­ever, the au­di­tor found the RCMP did not con­sis­tently de­fine who those of­fi­cers were across its di­vi­sions. It also had no national stan­dard for the num­ber of car­bines needed to equip its of­fi­cers.

Some de­tach­ments did not have enough car­bines, which meant there were no spares for when the guns were be­ing ser­viced.

In ad­di­tion, there were dis­crep­an­cies be­tween the RCMP’s data and the num­ber of car­bines in var­i­ous de­tach­ments. “So, RCMP National Head­quar­ters did not have a full pic­ture of the ac­tual lo­ca­tion of the car­bines within the di­vi­sions,” the au­dit re­port says. “The RCMP could not con­firm that of­fi­cers who needed the equip­ment had ac­cess to it.”

The Moun­ties say they have in­tro­duced elec­tronic, in­ter­ac­tive maps to track the where­abouts of car­bines and the of­fi­cers trained to use them.

Distribution of car­bines is based on “an on­go­ing, ever­green risk as­sess­ment,” Pub­lic Safety Min­is­ter Ralph Goodale told a news con­fer­ence. “If we are go­ing to have a suc­cess­ful po­lice force, the of­fi­cers them­selves need to be safe and se­cure and in a po­si­tion to do their job.”

The au­di­tor also found:

The RCMP did not have a plan ■ to man­age the ac­qui­si­tion of car­bines, caus­ing bot­tle­necks in distribution and back­logs in re­cer­ti­fy­ing members on how to use them as well as for main­te­nance of the guns;

The po­lice force met its tar­get ■ for the ini­tial train­ing of front-line of­fi­cers on car­bines, but 13 per cent of those of­fi­cers had not com­pleted an­nual re­cer­ti­fi­ca­tion train­ing;

Half the force’s car­bines had ■ not been main­tained ac­cord­ing to RCMP pol­icy;

De­fi­cien­cies with pis­tol main­te­nance ■ and manda­tory re­cer­ti­fi­ca­tion train­ing.

THE CANA­DIAN PRESS FILES

The RCMP isn’t sure that all its of­fi­cers have ac­cess to the ri­fles and body ar­mour needed to re­spond to an ac­tive shooter, Canada’s au­di­tor gen­eral has found.

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