RCMP making changes to its provincial service - Mar. 21, 2013
The RCMP is making changes to its policing service model in New Brunswick to make it more effective and sustainable, says Assistant Commissioner Wayne Lang, the province’s commanding officer.
The RCMP will now operate under three policing districts, plus the Codiac Regional RCMP and the boundaries of the new districts are aligned with the new Regional Service Commissions which will provide collaboration on policing services in their respective areas.
The current District 1, which is Charlotte County, will be included in the West District, which also includes Districts 10, 11 and 12.
“Policing is different today than it was 15 or 20 years ago. Our last restructuring was in the mid-nineties, and a lot has changed since then - with society, crime, technology and how we approach policing,” said Lang.
“Our new policing model is based on what has proven to work to make our communities safer. The model is a redistribution of our resources and a reduction in our administration costs to allow us to maximize our budget and our operational effectiveness. We will continue to police the same geography, and communities will still have the same level of local policing coverage.”
The majority of changes being made are to the RCMP’s internal management structure but Lang said they will be modernizing the way the police operate, in favour of smart, targeted, effective policing.
He said they have begun using civilian employees to help in key areas such as crime analysts who help identify those individuals who commit the greatest number of crimes, as well as crime trends, so they are more effective at targeting repeat and chronic offenders.
The RCMP also has civilian Community Program Officers, who serve as a valuable link with communities – here in District 1 it is Lisa Williams.
They deliver a variety of important programs to vulnerable sectors, said Lang, and work closely with young people in an effort to reduce youth crime and victimization.
Since the RCMP implemented its Youth Strategy in 2009, more than 1,300 youth have been diverted from the criminal justice system, in favour of other, community-based forms of intervention. Overall youth crime and the severity of youth crime are both down approximately 30 per cent in the province.
There will also be changes in the way some human resources are deployed with some frontline members assigned to specialized crime reduction teams.
These members will work closely with crime analysts, allowing frontline police officers to focus on priority calls and proactive policing activities like targeted drug and traffic enforcement.
Lang said they have also taken a critical look at their infrastructure, including detachments and satellite offices.
“Modern policing is less reliant on bricks and mortar than ever, yet the RCMP in New Brunswick has 56 such buildings, some only 20 to 30 km apart.
“This is one of the highest numbers of RCMP offices per capita in the country. Nova Scotia, by comparison, has 37. The average age of the detachments owned by the RCMP is 32 years, with many requiring costly repairs, or in some cases, replacement.”
A number of these offices do not have front counter service and are only used occasionally by police officers, said Lang, and with an improved road system, and new tools and technology at police officers’ disposal, some buildings have simply become redundant and fiscally irresponsible to maintain and operate.
The RCMP is consulting with municipalities about infrastructure in their areas to identify possible opportunities for efficiencies. Over time, this could result in some buildings being decommissioned, but Lang said those decisions will be made in consultation with municipal leaders and the province.