Much of the problems with the RCMP recently in the news can be placed at the foot of the RCMP leadership and the justice system, not on most average hard-working cops who would take a bullet for any member of the public if she could.
Facing public pressure, the Commissioner of the RCMP, Brenda Lucki, flip-flopped on whether there was systemic racism in the force within 24 hours. That she doesn’t understand the term, didn’t bother to learn what the term meant, seems obvious. When “….MPs repeatedly pressed her for answers over systemic racism in the RCMP — and she struggled to come up with an example, at one point referencing the disparity in officers' heights,” according to CTV News.
The commissioner has stated that increasing diversity will improve police interactions with the public. However, the RCMP has had one of the most diverse workforces for a number of years already, so lack of diversity is likely not the source of the problem. She would know that, so why would she say that? Is her job political rather than service-oriented?
There is at least one recent change within the RCMP that could be contributing to the much-publicized problems. Due to low recruitment rates, the standards for acceptance into the RCMP have been lowered. If there are not enough “upstanding citizen” applicants, it likely means the job is not attractive. Is this because of a poor work environment? How does the pay compare? How about working conditions? Are promotions going to the best people, or like in many organizations, to those best at making themselves look good? There is little the average cop can do about these issues, so these are a matter of political will on the part of the commissioner and politicians.
The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Report had recommendations for the RCMP, calling on them to “stop rotating inexperienced police officers into Indigenous and northern communities…”
This is a stunningly simple request made several years ago. A decent mom would never give her youngest child the hardest job, so why is the RCMP brass doing this? Proper assignments related to maturity, skill-set, and interest, would be a much smarter way to move forward. The difficulty of filling those positions needs to be solved by a broader effort to decentralize government services and the improvement of services, together with the community leaders, in a cooperative effort.
The official RCMP motto is to “Uphold the Right.” We owe our brave men and women the tools, the training, and the “Right” working environment so that they can carry out this high and worthy duty in a manner that dignifies their office.
It will require wisdom, courage, with a focus on truth and facts, in service of all Canadians, to improve what seems to be systematic problems within the RCMP. Anything else is just political posturing that changes nothing, and we will be having this conversation again in a few years.