The RCMP has a long history of serving Canadians. Most of it good. Some of it not desirable.
The good is what our members do in communities all over Canada day and night. Police work is dangerous business. Our members willingly face hazardous and harrowing situations. They do this so you don't have to. The vast majority do so with distinction and pride.
The not desirable is the few rotten apples you hear about on the news – who demonstrate unacceptable behaviour. Sometimes this behaviour is met with punishment that just does not cut it.
Unfortunately, more historical cases and cases already underway will come out and make the news. They are the inheritance of past behaviours and attitudes.
Our discipline process* is enshrined in the RCMP Act. I am trying to run a modern police force with a discipline system that was current 25 years ago.
Right now this framework limits my ability to ensure our members' conduct is properly managed and corrected or, when necessary, to see to it that the rotten apples are fired.
Also, some discipline cases are bogged down in an administratively burdensome and bureaucratic decision-making process. It's not unusual for a case to be on the books for years.
It's unsatisfactory that we have to continue spending your tax dollars to pay individuals that don't deserve to be in the RCMP.
I know that legislation alone is not enough to keep your trust. Reforms must be guided by an ongoing commitment at each level of the RCMP to foster an open, cooperative and respectful workplace.
I have started working at changing attitudes and behaviours within the RCMP. Since my appointment, I've clarified my expectations to my senior managers and all RCMP employees, and I have taken steps to address situations where I had the authority to do so.
The challenges facing the RCMP are significant, but we will create a modern and even stronger organization that continues to make you proud.
The men and women of the RCMP are up to this challenge, and those you encounter deserve your respect and support.
Commissioner Bob Paulson,
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
* To get an overview of the RCMP’s adjudication structure and process go to: The Components of the RCMP Formal Disciplinary Process