Friday, December 14, 2007

Overhaul the RCMP

It takes an unnecessary death to get proper action for the good . Be reminded of the following
"When generals are weak and lack authority, instructions are not clear, officers and soldiers lack consistency, and they form battle lines every which way; this is a riot." Sun Tzu's warning to military leaders is great advice to politicians. Deploying police or any public service people who don't have a consistent, repeatable process and who are not "on message" costs monumental amounts of wasted motion and leaves wheelbarrows full of money on table after table. We at PR strongly support the overhaul report calling for much needed reform. Might is not right, particularly if not wisely lead or used PR

Overhaul RCMP, task force says JESSICA LEEDER Globe and Mail Update
December 14, 2007 at 3:24 PM EST

TORONTO — A federal task force convened to help overhaul the RCMP recommended major structural changes for the 133-year-old force today, including granting the Force separate employer status from the government, the adoption of a civilian oversight board and the creation of a new, more powerful complaints authority.
The task force, led by Toronto lawyer David Brown, set a strict two-year deadline for the changes to be fully made, and asked that a special civilian body be set up to oversee their implementation, which will set the foundation for an additional 45 recommendations outlined in his task force's report, titled “Rebuilding the Trust.”
RCMP Commissioner William Elliott quickly embraced the report, saying he would use it to launch a necessary renewal of the federal force, including changes in its senior levels.
“It's an important document that will serve as one of the key drivers of change as we go forward. The report is, I believe, an important turning point,” he said.
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Internet Links
Full report (pdf)
Task Force
Mr. Brown said the task force realized through its consultation and research that “continuing to simply treat the symptoms ailing the RCMP was not going to fix anything and would only serve to compound the issues for future generations,” he said.
The five members of the task force spent five months travelling across the country to speak with RCMP members at all levels. Mr. Brown said his panel encountered “fierce pride in the Force” paired with “despair, disillusionment and anger with an organization that is failing them.”
He outlined a number of alarming trends his panel uncovered.
“With remarkable but disturbing consistency, we heard of chronic shortages of people and equipment, of overwork and fatigue, of issues of wellness, health and even safety,” said Mr. Brown.
“We learned about basic human management systems that haven't worked for years: mandatory unpaid overtime; discipline and grievance systems that don't work; a promotion system with little or no credibility; a sometimes embarrassing record of accounting to the people they serve.”
Mr. Brown said he found that rank and file members are “struggling to do their best under the tremendous burden of an inefficient and inappropriately structured organization.”
The task force's recipe for remedies begins, Mr. Brown said, with changing the relationship between the government and the RCMP, allowing the force to become a separate entity with separate employer status. Mr. Brown said the RCMP is not “just another federal department” and should be “free from unnecessary government constraints.” The force must be allowed to control its own finances and manage human resources decisions instead of being forced to contend with the federal bureaucracy, the task force suggests.

“A modern-day police force cannot spend its days mired in endless bureaucracy and administration with the federal government,” Mr. Brown said.

The addition of the new responsibilities should be governed by a civilian Board of Management, which Mr. Brown said would be responsible for overseeing financial affairs, resources, services, property, personnel and procurement. The Board will be accountable to the Minister of Public Safety and to Parliament.
The task force also recommended “radical changes” to increase accountability and transparency inside and outside of the force.
“A modern-day RCMP will shed its cloak of secrecy while protecting the fundamental rights of Canadian citizens,” Mr. Brown said.
The most radical of those recommendations includes scrapping the “inadequate” External Review Committee and the Public Complaints Commission, the two separate bodies that currently handle complaints related to the RCMP.
To replace them, the task force is calling for new legislation to create the Independent Commission for Complaints and Oversight of the RCMP (ICCOR), a non-police body. Under the task force's plan, ICCOR will operate like a sort of hybrid ombudsman. It would deal with both internal and external complaints and be given the powers to conduct investigations, summon witnesses and compel testimony.
It would also report publicly on recommendations and findings, which would be put before the new Board of Management. And, unlike current practices, the Commission's findings will be binding on the RCMP Commissioner.
Mr. Brown said the public should be given a progress report on the changes by June 30th, 2008. He also said his task force hopes to see the board of management and independent complaints commission up and running no later than December 31, 2009.
He asked that legislative changes required to enact the task force's recommendations be “sped along as quickly as possible in Parliament”, and suggested the Force be granted special one-time funding from the federal government to aid their rebuild.
“I am confident that the recommendations we have made today will rebuild this national icon into a modern-day police force,” he said. “I believe that the lost trust among rank and file members will be restored.”

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