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CFP Law Enforcement Services

Commissioner of Firearms - 2011 Report

The CFP supports the Commissioner of the RCMP’s law enforcement mandate by helping front-line law enforcement to investigate and prosecute persons involved in the illegal movement and criminal use of firearms.  The Firearms Investigative & Enforcement Services Directorate (FIESD) was established to support this mandate.

National Weapons Enforcement Support Team (NWEST)

The CFP NWEST provides support, services and information to front-line police officers who combat the illegal movement of firearms into and within Canada and their subsequent criminal use.  Assistance available 24/7 from NWEST includes:

  • Firearms information, guidance and investigative advice
  • Urgent hands-on firearms assistance
  • Firearms identification and tracing
  • Assistance with firearms serial number recovery
  • Development and execution of firearms-related search warrants
  • Firearm seizures and exhibit organization
  • Providing direction in determining firearm-related charges
  • Firearms case law information and advice
  • Firearm-related court preparation
  • Affidavit preparation
  • Expert witness services
  • Firearm-related training and lectures
  • Assistance with firearm amnesties and turn-in programs
  • Destruction and disposal of firearms and ammunition

Canadian National Firearms Tracing Centre (CNFTC)

The origin and history of a firearm can be discovered through the tracing process.   Since the firearm itself is a critical piece of physical evidence in a gun crime, tracing the firearm to a source individual or criminal organization can make the case for the Crown and open up new leads to other criminal activity.  The CFP CNFTC provides this service to Canadian and international law enforcement agency investigators.  They are also able to exchange trace information electronically with U.S. investigators which enables a quick and accurate exchange of information.  In 2011, the CNFTC received and processed 2,242 firearms tracing requests. 

The group also performed 1,000 indices checks on behalf of Canadian police agencies and Interpol in 2011.  The CNFTC receives lists of stolen, missing, seized or crime firearms from these sources and queries various Canadian firearms-related databases, checking for any related information.

Specialized Firearms Support Services (SFSS)

CFP SFSS includes the Firearms Reference Table (FRT), a comprehensive and user-friendly computer-based tool, developed and maintained by the CFP. With more than 141,000 firearms reference items, it provides law enforcement users with a systematic and standardized method of identifying and describing firearms, and improves accuracy in import-export controls and international communications involving transnational firearms crime. It also assists in firearms tracing, record keeping and determining the class of a firearm, as outlined under the applicable Criminal Code definitions. The FRT database is made available to all police and regulatory agencies through a variety of technologies, and the FRT group is recognized as the centre of expertise in the identification of firearms.

The 2011 FRT DVD was released in February/March 2011, with distribution including:

  • 3,926 Canadian-version DVDs
  • 1,392 International-version DVDs
  • 47 Corporate*-version DVDs

*The corporate version of the FRT is identical in both data and functionality to the individual DVD, but the installation process is different.  It is ideal for large police departments or government agencies that run their own shared internal network and have a large volume of users.

The following changes occurred in the distribution of the International version of the FRT DVD in 2011:

  • 84 new international FRT clients from various countries
  • 11 new countries added to international distribution list
  • Interpol headquarters (Lyon) was updated in 2011 and supplied the FRT via the Interpol IFRT to 188 nations
The following countries receive international versions of the FRT, those with an asterisk were added in 2011:
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahamas
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh*
  • Barbados
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Cayman Islands*
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica*
  • Croatia*
  • France
  • Germany
  • Guatemala*
  • Guinea
  • Hungary
  • India*
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jamaica*
  • Kosovo
  • Lesotho*
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Oman*
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • St Lucia
  • Serbia and Montenegro
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand*
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates*
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

In August 2011, a Web version of the FRT was made available to clients through a secure Internet environment.  This version is updated daily and therefore gives users access to the most current firearm records and images.  It also gives them access to the FRT from any Internet connection.  By the end of 2011, 539 clients had registered for this service.

Another part of SFSS is the Mobile Service Delivery Vehicle (MSDV) program. Here, trained RCMP firearms personnel, equipped with specially outfitted vehicles, stationed or travelling across the country, provide various firearms-focused services to law enforcement groups. When paired with the Mobile Ammunition Combustion System (MACS), MSDV services include on-site firearms and ammunition identification, examination, test-firing, destruction and disposal.

Summary of SFSS 2011 Firearms Support and Training:

  • Daily support provided to federal, provincial and municipal police, specialized Guns and Gangs units as well as government agencies such as CBSA and DFAIT.
  • Support to a provincial police service in April 2011 to assist with the identification and class verification of 187 firearms for court.
  • Assisted NWEST and municipal police services with the identification of military weapons.
  • In January 2011, three sessions of Firearm Verification training were provided:
    • CFO office, including Firearm Officers
    • Large municipal police force Guns and Gangs unit
    • Businesses/Museums in a Canadian metropolitan area
  • Training provided to specialized provincial weapons enforcement unit.
  • Three sessions of the Canadian Firearms Safety Course were offered to participants from the RCMP and other government groups.
  • Provided firearm identification training in Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Delivered FRT presentation at the CFP-hosted International Firearms Trafficking School.
  • Released two online firearm training courses - Firearm Verification and Firearm Verification for Public Agents 2.0.

Firearms Internet Investigations Support (FIIS) Unit

The Firearms Internet Investigations Support (FIIS) Unit is a full open-source investigative unit providing a range of Internet support services, both in the firearm applicant screening process and directly to front-line police officers. CFP FIIS gathers information from a variety of sites and, when potentially criminal activities involving firearms are detected, the information is forwarded to the police of jurisdiction for further investigation.

In 2011 the CFP FIIS unit screened 3,147 restricted firearms licence applicants, 666 more than in 2010. They also forwarded 42 follow-up reports, regarding high-risk applicants, to Chief Firearm Officers.

This unit also responded to 47 direct requests for supplementary information on individuals, firearms businesses or organizations, up from 40 in 2010.

FIIS also contributed to 21 investigations by providing information found through various open source avenues including blogs, forums, social networking and other publicly accessible online sites. This is an increase from 2010, when the group contributed to 13 investigations.

Firearms Operations and Enforcement Support (FOES)

The CFP FOES unit receives and analyzes information on Canadian firearms trends and patterns, suspected criminals and smuggling routes.  They then provide this information to law enforcement agencies to help combat illicit firearms and the impact these firearms have on public and police officer safety.  FOES can provide law enforcement partners with an operational overview of firearms within their region or across Canada in order to assist with investigations and prosecutions.

NWEST, CNFTC and FOES are also integral components of the Investment to Combat the Criminal Use of Firearms, as described in the RCMP Departmental Performance Report.

Public Agents Firearms Regulations (PAFR)

The Public Agents Firearms Regulations, in effect since 2008, obligate certain public sector agencies, including police forces, to report all agency (owned by the agency) and protected (seized, turned in or found by police) firearms in their possession.

This firearm-reporting requirement supports Canada's commitment to combat the trafficking of illicit firearms as it creates a comprehensive, centralized and accessible database containing firearm information from across the country. PAFR data can be used to assist in investigations and has particular relevance in multi-jurisdictional cases as it helps monitor the location, movement and distribution of illicit firearms across Canada. This centralized and accessible firearms database makes it easier for law enforcement officers to identify what types of firearms are being seized nationally and in their jurisdiction, and determine where these firearms may have originated.

Table 2: Canadian Public Service Agencies in Possession of Firearms - 2011

Agency Type Number of Firearms
Court 121
Federal Agency 242
Municipal Agency 46
Police Academy 6
Police Agency/Detachments 1,020
Provincial Agency 251
Total 1,686

The numbers represent individual reporting agencies in possession of agency and/or protected firearms. In some instances, this can be an entire police force, while in other cases, it may represent a single detachment of a larger police force, such as the RCMP.

Table 3: Firearms Seized by Public Service Agencies (Location) - 2011

Province/Territory Number of Firearms
Newfoundland and Labrador 368
Prince Edward Island 4
Nova Scotia 1,616
New Brunswick 1,168
Quebec 8,561
Ontario 9,643
Manitoba 1,736
Saskatchewan 886
Alberta 3,611
British Columbia 5,807
Yukon 120
Northwest Territories 91
Nunavut 116
Total 33,727

These numbers represent only information reported to the CFP and do not necessarily reflect ALL firearms seized in Canada

Table 4: Firearms Seized by Public Service Agencies (Class of Firearm) - 2011

Class Number of Firearms
Non-Restricted 27,655
Restricted 4,293
Prohibited 1,767
Unknown 12
Total 33,727

These numbers represent only information reported to the CFP and do not necessarily reflect ALL firearms seized in Canada

Canadian Firearms Information System (CFIS)
Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC)
Canadian Firearms Registry Online (CFRO)

The Canadian Firearms Information System contains current firearms licence-holder data.  Licensed individuals and businesses are continuous-eligibility screened and, if a licence holder is the subject of a Canadian Police Information Centre incident report anywhere in Canada, a Firearms Interest Police (FIP) report is automatically generated and sent to the CFP for further review.  CFIS also contains descriptions and details of the 7.8 million firearms registered in Canada.  Whenever a firearm is reported lost, stolen or recovered in CPIC, a CPIC “event” is automatically generated and sent to the Canadian Firearms Registry for review.

A subset of the data contained in CFIS comprises the Canadian Firearms Registry Online, which law enforcement officers can query via CPIC.  CFRO information helps police trace recovered firearms or anticipate the presence of firearms at a location prior to attendance.  Also, if a firearms licence is revoked and police are deployed to recover the firearm(s), they can query CFRO to determine the number of firearms associated to the individual, their descriptions and their serial numbers. 

In 2011, Canadian law enforcement agencies queried the Canadian Firearms Registry Online an average of 17,778 times per day.

Annual Canadian Firearms Registry Online (CFRO) queries (2007-2011)

  • 2007 - 2,543,990
  • 2008 - 3,441,442
  • 2009 - 4,042,859
  • 2010 - 5,240,414
  • 2011 - 6,489,092

CFP Geographical Firearms Reports

The CFP has developed the ability to provide police services with jurisdiction-specific firearms-related statistical information, upon request.  By combining data from the Canadian Firearms Information System, Statistics Canada and other sources, the CFP can prepare reports with current and accurate firearms data relevant to specific geographical areas.  This factual and timely firearms information can help police address and counter gun violence, combat the illegal movement of firearms in their jurisdiction and focus their investigative efforts and planning in relation to firearms crime.